The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) Techniques Thesaurus was developed in 2017-18 and draws on external term lists and the MERL’s own terms for techniques. It is intended as a complete list for primary terms, with scope for further secondary terms to be added as appropriate secondary term lists are developed, e.g. for weaving […]
A thesaurus is a structured wordlist that is used to standardise terminology. It provides the user with a single preferred term from a hierarchy that is cross-referenced to other groups of terms which may be relevant to the subject.
Using standardised terminology like a thesaurus to catalogue objects in your museum collections enables you to keep consistent records which give reliable answers when searched.
There are many published thesauri covering object names, materials, locations, artists and makers, subjects and historical periods that museums can use in their documentation. These are available to view here and we will be adding to this resource over the coming months.
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 Event Types Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) is a development of the ALGAO events wordlist. The thesaurus is an indexing tool to be used for recording archaeological and architectural investigative, data collection exercises; from intrusive interventions to non damaging survey events. Historic England, as part of the Forum on […]
The Evidence Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) includes terminology covering the existing physical remains of a monument, or the means by which a monument has been identified where no physical remains exist. Historic England, as part of the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH), takes a leading role in setting […]
The Archaeological Sciences Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) is used for recording the techniques, recovery methods and materials associated with the archaeological sciences. Historic England, as part of the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH), takes a leading role in setting standards for recording the built and buried heritage. […]
The Components Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) includes terminology covering divisions and structural elements of a building or monument, relating to the built or buried heritage. It also includes terms that describe areas and spaces, decorative features, fixtures and fittings, machinery and implied features (e.g. post hole, cartouche, truss). Historic England, as part […]
The Resource Description Thesaurus, jointly developed by the National Trust and English Heritage, includes terminology for the description of archive type and format, (for example the type of archival record – a diary, and the format – paper). Clicking the link on this page will open this resource to view in your current browser window.
The Historic Aircraft Type Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) is an indexing tool to aid the recording of aircraft remains and crash sites, listing aircraft types by form, function and manufacturer. Historic England, as part of the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH), takes a leading role in setting […]
CONA compiles titles, attributions, depicted subjects, and other metadata about works of art, architecture, and other cultural heritage, both extant and historical, linked to museum collections, special collections, archives, libraries, scholarly research, and other resources. CONA is linked to the AAT, TGN, ULAN, and the Getty Iconography Authority (IA). Clicking the link on this page […]
Nomenclature 4.0 for Museum Cataloging is an updated and expanded edition of Robert G. Chenhall’s system for classifying man-made objects, originally published in 1978. Nomenclature is the standard cataloguing tool for thousands of museums and historical organisations across the United States and Canada. Nomenclature is a hard-copy publication but you can follow the link on this […]
The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system is a general knowledge organization tool conceived by Melvil Dewey in 1873 and published in 1876. The DDC is published by OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. OCLC owns all copyright rights in the Dewey Decimal Classification, and licenses the system for a variety of uses. The DDC is […]
Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition (MSW3) is a database of mammalian taxonomy drawn from Don E. Wilson & DeeAnn M. Reeder (editors), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005). This database can be used as a convenient on-line reference for identifying or verifying recognised scientific […]
The Index Nominum Genericorum is a collaborative project of the International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) and the Smithsonian Institution. It is a compilation of generic names published for all organisms covered by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, and also includes bibliographic citations and information about the typification and nomenclatural status of generic names. […]
The Building Material Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) includes terms for construction materials for monuments relating to the built and buried heritage.
The Maritime Craft Types Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) includes terms for craft types which survive as wrecks for Historic England’s maritime record and can be used to describe types of ship.
The Maritime Cargo Types Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) includes terms for types of cargo being carried by ships when they went down.
The Maritime Place Name Thesaurus from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) includes terms for maritime ports, countries and bodies of water from and to which ships may have sailed or been registered.
The Archaeological Objects Thesaurus was originally developed by MDA (now Collections Trust) and has been further developed by the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH). It includes terms for physical evidence, usually portable, resulting from past human activity or environmental remains that can be recovered from archaeological fieldwork.
The Defence of Britain Thesaurus was originally developed for the Defence of Britain Project, completed in 2002. It includes types of defensive monuments relating to the 20th century in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Thesaurus of Monument Types from the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) includes terms for types of monuments relating to the built and buried heritage in England.
The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) is a structured vocabulary, including names, descriptions, and other metadata for extant and historical cities, empires, archaeological sites, and physical features important to research of art and architecture. This controlled vocabulary may be used by someone cataloguing or indexing a collection as it provides preferred names or terms.
The Getty Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) is a structured vocabulary, including names, biographies, related people, and other metadata about artists, architects, firms, studios, museums, patrons, sitters, and other people and groups involved in the creation and study of art and architecture.
The Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH) is a non-profit membership group that sets standards for recording the built and buried heritage to ensure consistency in documentation. FISH makes available a number of online thesauri that are regularly updated as new terms are submitted and approved by the FISH Data Standards Unit.
Iconclass is a classification system used by art historians, researchers and curators. It is a hierarchically ordered collection of definitions of objects, people, events and abstract ideas that may form the subject of an image. It is widely accepted as a scientific tool for description, retrieval and research of subjects in images.
The Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) is a structured vocabulary, including terms, descriptions, and other metadata for generic concepts related to art, architecture, conservation, archaeology, and other cultural heritage. Included are work types, styles, materials, techniques, and others.
Connected Earth’s Telecommunciations Object Wiki-Thesaurus gives a common language for telecommunciations objects; primarily designed for people working with telecommunications objects in heritage collections.
This thesaurus reflects the nature of the British Museum collections, and was originally set up as an internal reference tool. Some areas of terminology may be more specific than others, depending on the level of documentation available, or the size of particular collections.
The Materials thesaurus was initially compiled from index terms generated from computer records created using curatorial documentation and the objects themselves. The final listing is not intended as a scientific classification system, rather it is a reflection of the terminology, both current and historical, in use in curatorial departments in The British Museum.
ICOM International Committee for the Museums and Collections of Costume’s Vocabulary of Basic Terms for Cataloguing Costume offers comprehensive guidance on cataloguing costume to ensure that the information contained in each garment in museum collections are recorded clearly.