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Entity Relationship Diagram. Source: http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/standards/cdwa/entity.html. Metadata for Cultural Objects and Visual Resources. CDWA VRA Core CCO: Cataloging Cultural Objects.

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Entity relationship diagram
Entity Relationship Diagram

Source: http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/standards/cdwa/entity.html

Metadata for cultural objects and visual resources

Metadata for Cultural Objects and Visual Resources



Cataloging Cultural Objects

Overview of standards for the cultural heritage community
Overview of standards for the cultural heritage community

Data structure standards

CDWA (Categories for the Description of Works of Art)

Data content standard

Cataloging Cultural Object (CCO)


VRA Core (Visual Resources Association Core Categories)

What am I describing?

[tasks are referred to as: cataloging, describing, registering, managing, creating metadata …]

Need to understand:

1. Catalog level

2. Work vs. image

3. Related works

1 catalog level

1. Catalog Level








  • Works may be

    • complex, consisting of multiple parts,

    • created in series

  • First question: Are you dealing with a part of a work that belongs to a larger whole?

Catalog level
. Catalog Level

1. Item – an individual object or work, may be composed of multiple parts or components

Catalog level1
. Catalog Level

2. Group

An archival group (or record group) is an aggregate of items that share a common provenance.

  • several thousand items (e.g., the entire body of drawings, models, and written documents from an architect's office)

  • a few items (e.g., a handful of surviving drawings from one architectural project).

2. Group (cont.)

  • a group often contains many different types of objects

  • cataloging focuses on the description of coherent, collective bodies of works

. Catalog Level

3. Volume

A volume comprises sheets of paper, vellum, papyrus, or another material that are bound together.

  • printed books, manuscripts, sketchbooks, or albums

Catalog level2
. Catalog Level

4. Collection

A collection comprises multiple items that are conceptually or physically arranged together for the purpose of cataloging or retrieval.

  • A collection differs from an archival group because the items in a collection are bound informally for convenience and do not necessarily share a common provenance or otherwise meet the criteria for an archival group.

. Catalog Level

5. Series

A series comprises a number of works that were created in temporal succession by the same artist or studio and intended by the creator(s) to be seen together or in succession as a cycle of works.

Image source: http://www.kellypacker.com/portfolio/art_work_by_series/category/self-portraits/

. Catalog Level

6. Set

A set is an assembly of items that the creator intended to be together (e.g., a tea set, a desk set, a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes).

  • A set differs from a collection in that it is typically smaller and was intended by the creator to be grouped together.

the object comprises bowl, lid, and stand

. Catalog Level

7. Component

A component is a part of a larger item.

  • A component differs from an item in that the item can stand alone as an independent work but the component typically cannot or does not stand alone (e.g., a panel of a polyptych, an architectural component).

Levels of cataloging in different disciplines
Levels of cataloging in different disciplines

  • Most common levels:

    • groups, subgroups, volumes, and single items

  • Archives:

    • group level – intellectual or physical groups

  • Museums:

    • item level -- assigning accession numbers and other catalog information to every individual object in their collections.

  • Libraries:

    • volume level -- typically do not catalog individual prints or illustrations in the pages of a volume.

2. Work vs. Image

A work

  • is a distinct intellectual or artistic creation limited primarily to objects and structures made by humans

  • including

    • built works

    • visual art works

    • cultural artifacts

    • … …

      A work is a physical entity that exists, has existed at some time in the past, or that could exist in the future.

2 work vs image
2. Work vs. Image

An image

  • is a visual representation of a work.

  • It typically exists in

    • Photomechanical format

    • Photographic format

    • digital format

  • In a typical visual resources collection, an image is a slide, photograph, or digital file.

  • Images do not include three-dimensional physical models, drawings, paintings, or sculptures, which are works in their own right.

Work vs. Image: an example

  • Data set describing a chair that was documented by a photograph. The photograph was later copied to a slide format and scanned to create a digital image.

  • Frederick C. Robie House dining chair

  • Designer: Wright, Frank L. (1867-1959)

  • See VRA Example 3.http://www.vraweb.org/resources/datastandards/vracore3/examples.html

Documented by Henry Fuermann

in 1910

Designed by Frank L Wright during


A slide made in 1985 & scanned in 1997

Record Type = workType = architectural furnitureType = seating furnitureType = dining chairType = tall back chairType = spindle-back chairTitle = Frederick C. Robie House dining chairMeasurements.Dimensions = 52.5 x 18 x 19.25 cmMaterial. Medium = oakMaterial.Medium = leatherTechnique = cabinet makingTechnique = upholsteringCreator.Personal Name = Wright, Frank L. (1867-1959)Creator.Role = designerDate.Design = 1906Date.Completion = 1909Location.Current Repository = Chicago (IL,USA),University of Chicago,David & Alfred Smart Museum of ArtLocation.Former Site = Frederick C. Robie House, Chicago, IL, USID Number.Current Repository = 1965.2.14furnStyle/Period = Arts and CraftsCulture = AmericanRelation.Part of = Frederic C. Robie HouseDescription = The dining chair is part of a set of six designed specifically for the dining room of the Frederick C. Robie House.Rights = David & Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, IL, US

VRA Core 3 Example

Record Type = workType = photographType = gelatin silver printTitle = interior view of Frederic C. Robie House dinning

room with furnishingsMeasurements.Dimensions = 8x10"Material.Medium = gelatinMaterial.Medium = silverMaterial.Support = photo paperTechnique = photographyTechnique = gelatin silver processCreator.Personal name = Fuermann, HenryCreator.Role = photographerDate.Creation = 1910Location.Current Repository = Scottsdale (AZ, US), Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Taliesin WestID Number.Current Repository = 0908.018Culture = AmericanSubject = Frank C. Robie HouseSubject = dining roomSubject = dining tableSubject = dining chairSubject = stained glass windowRights = Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ, US

VRA Core 3 Example

VRA Core 3 Example

Record Type = imageType = slideTitle = interior view of Frederick C. Robie House dining room with furnishingsMeasurements.Dimensions = 2x2"Measurements.Format = 35 mmMeasurements.Format = horizontalTechnique = photographyCreator = Mole, ChristopherCreator.Role = copy photographerDate.Creation = 1985Location.Current Repository = Albuquerque (NM, US),

University of New Mexico, Bainbridge Bunting Slide LibraryID Number.Current Repository = UNM d000614ID Number.Current Repository = FURN/AMER/Wright/Robie.383787Source = gift of Christopher MoleRights = Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation,Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ, US

VRA Core 3 Example

Record Type = imageType = digitalTitle = interior view of Frederick C.

Robie House dining room with

furnishingsMeasurements.Dimensions = 72dpiMeasurements.Format = jpegTechnique = scanningCreator.Personal Name = Gopher.MaryCreator.Role = scannerDate.Creation = 1997Location.Current Repository =  Albuquerque (NM, US), University of

New Mexico, Bainbridge Bunting Slide LibraryID Number.Current Repository = 1977-4.ar302.jpegSource = UNM dOOO614Rights = Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Taliesin West, Scottsdale,


Relationships between work and image records
Relationships between Work and Image Records

  • In a relational database structure

    • a record for the image would be linked to a record for the work

One work many images
one work – many images

  • a work may be linked to multiple images (e.g., when there is more than one image of the work)


One image depicts multiple works
one image – depicts multiple works

  • an image may be linked to multiple works (e.g., when more than one work appears in the same image)

3 related works
3. Related works

  • Related Works are those having an important conceptual relationship with each other

  • Records for Related Works are linked to each other in the database.

  • An intrinsic relationship is essential and must be recorded to enable effective searches.

  • An extrinsic relationship is not essential; although recording it may be informative, the cataloger need not identify the extrinsic relationship during the cataloging process.

Intrinsic relationship a direct relationship between two works
Intrinsic relationship-- a direct relationship between two works

  • Whole-Part Relationships

  • Group and Collection Relationships

  • Series Relationships

  • Components and Architectural Works

Extrinsic relationships two or more works have a relationship that is informative but not essential
Extrinsic Relationships--two or more works have a relationship that is informative, but not essential

The described work and the referenced work can stand independently.

  • = a see also reference in a bibliographic record

  • temporal association: e.g., with works done after the original work, such as works that clearly reference other works while not necessarily being copies of them.

  • spatial association: e.g., two or more works intended to be seen together.


  • Some slides are from Patricia Harpring:Documentation & Access: Indexing with the Getty Vocabularies, 2006

    • http://cendi.dtic.mil/presentations/harpring.PPT

  • CDWA (Categories for the Description of Works of Art)- http://www.getty.edu/research/publications/electronic_publications/cdwa/

  • VRA Core Documentation

    • http://www.vraweb.org/projects/vracore4/index.html

  • Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO)

    • http://cco.vrafoundation.org/