The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) Materials Thesaurus was developed in 2017-18 and draws on external term lists and the MERL’s own terms for materials. It is intended as a complete list for primary terms, with some secondary and tertiary terms pre-populated. The Scope Notes contain guidance on the addition of further secondary and tertiary terms
The MERL Materials term list was developed by Greta Bertram, Ollie Douglas and Guy Baxter for the Arts Council England funded project, ‘Making, Using and Enjoying: The Museum of the Intangible.’ The term list draws on those used by the Pitt Rivers Museum, 2017 (PRM) and the Canadian Heritage Information Network, 1992 (CHIN), with additions from the 4th edition of Museums Australia (Victoria)’s ‘The Small Museums Cataloguing Manual’, 2009 (MAV), the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (Getty AAT) and the MERL’s own terms.
The term list largely consists of two levels of terms – primary and secondary terms – with scope for tertiary terms in some instances, such as the different types of willow used in basketry (i.e. wood, willow, white; wood, willow, buff; and wood, willow, brown). It should not be necessary to add additional primary terms, but further secondary (and even tertiary) terms may be added when needed, following the guidance in the Scope Note.
The ‘Source’ field indicates where the terms have been drawn from (e.g. PRM, CHIN, MAV, Getty AAT).
The ‘Scope Note’ field gives a definition of the terms, explains what secondary terms should refer to and what format they should be created in, and provides guidance on how the term should or should not be used.
Download the MS Excel file by clicking on the link on this page.