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Introduction

The use of consistent terminology in cataloging data significantly improves the precision and comprehensiveness of retrieval. Repositories that are participating or planning to participate in VIA use a wide variety of controlled vocabularies in their local systems. Among the challenges of VIA will be determining how and where the use of consistent terminology across repositories can be encouraged, how vocabulary might be standardized during the process of loading data into the system, and what online functions might be developed to help users negotiate across vocabularies where necessary.

The VIA Data Element list includes subelements where the source of the vocabulary used in the element can be specified. Any automated ways of standardizing terminology or guiding users through alternatives will certainly make use of such information. Contributing repositories are encouraged to supply a consistent code denoting the source vocabulary for a term when they know which vocabulary was used.

The VIA Access Working Group surveyed the community to determine which vocabularies or other sources of terminology were in use. The table below summarizes the results of that survey, showing for each controlled data element codes for the vocabularies in use and the repositories using the vocabulary in that data element. New contributors to VIA should use these vocabulary codes where applicable, and register previously unused vocabularies to be added to this list.

Controlled vocabulary in use

VIA Data Element / Source codeRepositories using this source
Creator 
  
AACR2SCGSD; SL
AveryVRGSD
GEHP&GA; SL
HOLLISFAL; JC; SL; VRGSD
LCFAL; JC; P&GA; PIRC; SL
LocalFAL; HUAM; PIRC; VRGSD
OCLCVRGSD
ULANHUAM; SL; VRGSD
  
Personal name 
AACR2SCGSD; SL
AveryVRGSD
HOLLISFAL; JC; SL; VRGSD
LCFAL; JC; P&GA; PIRC; SL
LocalFAL; HUAM; PIRC; VRGSD
OCLCVRGSD
ULANHUAM; SL; VRGSD
  
Corporate name 
AACR2SCGSD; SL
AveryVRGSD
GEHP&GA; SL
HOLLISFAL; JC; SL; VRGSD
LCFAL; JC; P&GA; PIRC; SL
LocalFAL; HUAM; PIRC; VRGSD
OCLCVRGSD
  
Place name (subject) 
AATHUAM; SCGSD; SL
HOLLISFAL; JC; SL; VRGSD
LCFAL; JC; P&GA; PIRC; SCGSD; SL
LocalFAL; HUAM
TGNHUAM; SL; VRGSD
  
Topics 
AATFAL; HUAM; P&GA; PIRC; SCSGD; SL; VRGSD
HOLLISJC; SL
LCFAL; JC; PIRC; SCGSD; SL; VRGSD
LocalFAL; HUAM
  
Style / period 
AATFAL; HUAM; PIRC; SCGSD; SL; VRGSD
HOLLISJC; SL
LCFAL; JC; SCGSD; SL
LocalFAL; HUAM
  
Nationality / culture 

AAT

FAL; HUAM; PIRC; SCGSD; SL; VRGSD
HOLLISJC; SL
LCFAL; JC; SCGSD; SL
LocalFAL; HUAM
  
Location (e.g., where the object was found) 
AATHUAM; SCGSD; SL
HOLLISFAL; JC; SL; VRGSD
LCFAL; JC; PIRC; SCGSD; SL
LocalFAL; HUAM
TGNHUAM; SL; VRGSD

Glossary

AAT. Art and Architecture Thesaurus

Avery. Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

FAL. Fine Arts Library, Visual Collections

GEH. George Eastman House Photographers database

HOLLIS. HOLLIS

HUAM. Harvard University Art Museums

JC. Harvard College Library, Judaica Collection

LC. Library of Congress: Subject Headings, Name Authority File or Graphic Thesaurus

LOCAL. Local sources, identified below.

OCLC . OCLC

P&GA. Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphic Arts

PIRC. Harvard Planning and Real Estate, Property Information Resource Center

SCGSD. Frances Loeb Library Special Collections Department, GSD

SL. Schlesinger Library

TGN. Thesaurus of Geographic Names

ULAN. Union List of Artists Names

VRGSD. Frances Loeb Library Visual Resoures Department, GSD

Local sources

Benezit. HUAM

Bosworth: the New Islamic Dynasties. FAL

Cambridge History of Iran. FAL

Dictionary of Art. VRGSD

Directory of American Artists. HUAM

Encyclopaedia of Islam. FAL

Encyclopaedia Iranica. FAL

Macmillan/Grove Dictionary of Art. FAL; VRGSD

ProFile. VRGSD

Thieme-Becker. HUAM

Times Atlas. FAL

Webster's new geographical dictionary. HUAM

Who was who in American art. HUAM

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