Object/Work

DEFINITION

An identification of the type and number of works described.

SUBCATEGORIES

QUANTITY
TYPE
COMPONENTS
QUANTITY
TYPE
REMARKS
CITATIONS

DISCUSSION

This category identifies the logical focus of discussion. Works of art may be a single item, or they may be made up of many physical parts or arranged in separate physical groups. It is necessary to define the particular object/work or group of objects in question, whether it be a single painted canvas or an altarpiece made up of many panels, a monolithic sculpture or an installation, a single drawing on one piece of paper or a volume of drawings such as an album or sketchbook, or an archival group comprising drawings, prints, computer diskettes, and photographs.

The level of specificity at which an object or group is described will depend on the practice of the individual institution. When both the whole and its parts are described separately, the part/whole relationships should be recorded in RELATED WORKS. The parts of a work or group may have a hierarchical relationship to the whole. In the example of a sixteenth-century illuminated manuscript, the illumination of Christ Led Before Pilate on folio 147 verso is part of the whole Prayer Book of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg [Figure 7].

The definition of the work may be relative and changeable. When an altarpiece is held by one owner in its entirety, it will probably be described as a single object. If it has been dismantled and dispersed, the many parts of the same original work will now be recorded as separate works. Historical part/whole relationships should be recorded as RELATED WORKS; examples include a disassembled sketchbook and its former folios, dispersed panels that once were part of the same altarpiece, or architectural spolia that were once part of another structure.

OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS can record the quantity and component type of the parts of the work being cataloged, even when the parts are not treated as separate works. For example, it is useful to list the components of an eighteenth-century porcelain lidded bowl [Figure 1], the panels of an Italian Renaissance altarpiece [Figure 2], or note that a sheet of paper contains drawings on both the recto and the verso [Figure 30].

If a work is made up of many components, the components may also have parts; these relationships should be indicated. For example, it should be possible to indicate the relationships between a teapot and its lid and a cup and its saucer, when both sets form part of the tea set being described. An installation in the "stations format" may have many parts or stations, each made up of different objects. For this reason, OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS repeats within the OBJECT/WORK set of subcategories.

In the case of contemporary works of art, it is important to distinguish parts of the original work from those that form part of the artifactual trace. It is not possible to make this determination solely on the basis of physical form. A video, for example, could be an integral part of an installation, recorded in OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS. Or, it could be a document of a performance piece, recorded in RELATED VISUAL DOCUMENTATION.

RELATIONSHIPS

The relationship between the object described and other parts of the same work that are described as separate objects should be recorded in RELATED WORKS. Often objects do not have formal titles and are are known by their OBJECT/WORK - TYPE (for example, a desk). These terms should be indicated here as well, even if they also appear in TITLES OR NAMES; this description associates a work with other objects of the same type that may have more formal titles.

USES

This category makes it possible to determine how many works of a particular type are described. It also makes it possible to find works of a particular type, be they the work itself or one of its components.

The subcategory OBJECT/WORK - TYPE within this category makes it possible to narrow the realm of possibility to a particular "kind" of work. It reflects the concentration of art historians on certain areas such as sculpture, painting, or textiles.

ACCESS

The subcategories - TYPE and COMPONENTS - TYPE are PRIMARY ACCESS POINTS. Subcategories of OBJECT/WORK will be searched in combination with other categories. For example, an art historian examining landscape composition in the late Renaissance might search for drawings of landscapes from Genoa that were created in the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. A scholar planning a research trip may wish to identify kilims in repositories in Brazil.


Object/Work - Quantity

DEFINITION

The number of objects or works of a specific type described.

EXAMPLES

1 [painting]
1 [altarpiece]
2 [folders]
1 [group]
1 [sketchbook]
1 [installation]
20 linear feet [drawings]

DISCUSSION

OBJECT/WORK - QUANTITY is combined with OBJECT/WORK - TYPE (e.g., in brackets above) to indicate the number of physical objects in question. If a group of objects of different types is being described, each kind of object should be counted separately in OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS. If a work is made up of two or more parts, they should be described in OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS.

While single works of art or small groups can be counted individually, large quantities of documents are often measured in aggregate terms such as "linear feet" or "linear meters" -- for example, a set of drawings from an artist's studio.

USES

This subcategory is used to identify how many items of a particular kind are described.


Object/Work - Type

DEFINITION

The kind of object or work described.

EXAMPLES

painting [Figure 17]
photograph [Figure 12]
drawing [Figure 30]
print[Figure 34]
bust [Figure 22]
statue [Figure 5]
bas-relief
coin
mask
chair [Figure 14]
prayer rug
video
kylix [Figure 16]
album
altarpiece [Figure 2]
sketchbook
portfolio
installation
performance
tea set
group

DISCUSSION

OBJECT/WORK - TYPE is a term specifying the particular kind of object/work or group. The terms used will depend upon what is most useful in the cataloging institution. For example, a cassone or decorated chest may be labeled by the term "furniture" in an art museum, but such a general term would be insufficient in a decorative arts or history museum. If more than one object is under consideration, others are recorded in subsequent occurrences of the subcategory.

OBJECT/WORK - TYPE can change over time. The physical form or function of a work can change, such as when a sculptural group was originally used as a support for a table [Figure 11]. It is important to record the OBJECT/WORK - TYPE of the work as it was created, as well as all subsequent functions and forms. Since object types may have differing definitions (for example, is a watercolor a painting or a drawing?), controlled vocabularies with specific definitions should be used to avoid confusion. This will ensure consistent results when queries are made.

A work can be a single physical thing, a fragment or part of a broken or dispersed work, a work composed of many parts, or an event, such as a "happening" or other time-based, nonpermanent work. The parts of a work or group should be identified in associated occurrences of OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS.

A certain kind of work may carry information about a specific question; for example, drawings can shed light on the creative process culminating in a painting. When one work is preparatory for another, this relationship should be recorded in RELATED WORKS.

RELATIONSHIPS

Discussion of the history of placement of the work in an architectural environment, its archaeological excavation, or events associated with the work can be recorded in CONTEXT.

USES

This subcategory identifies the type of object/work or group that is the focus of the description. It can also be combined with other subcategories to assemble all works of a certain type that meet specific search criteria.

ACCESS

This is a PRIMARY ACCESS POINT. The user will need to search OBJECT/WORK - TYPE and OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - TYPE together to find all works, whether described individually or as part of a larger work: for example in searching for drawings by Dan Flavin, whether or not they are part of a sketchbook.

TERMINOLOGY/FORMAT

The use of a controlled vocabulary is recommended, such as the AAT (especially Objects facet), ACRL/RBMS Binding Terms, ACRL/RBMS Genre Terms, ACRL/RBMS Paper Terms, ACRL/RBMS Printing and Publishing Evidence, Base Mérimée: Lexique, the British Archaeological Thesaurus, Glass' Subject Index for the Visual Arts, ICOM Costume Terms,Index of Jewish Art, ISO 5127-3: Iconic Documents, ISO 5127-11: Audio-visual Documents, LC Descriptive Terms for Graphic Materials, Moving Image Materials, Revised Nomenclature, Reyniès' Le Mobilier Domestique, and Tozzer Library Headings.


Object/Work - Components

DEFINITION

The kinds and numbers of parts of the object/ work or group described.

EXAMPLES

portfolio contains 10 lithographs
sketchbook comprises 23 folios and 5 loose sheets
sheet contains drawings on both recto and verso [Figure 30]
volume comprises 178 leaves with 7 full-page illuminations, and oak covers with silver and copper gilt reliefs [Figure 31]
altarpiece comprises central panel, 4 side panels, and upper tier of 5 panels [Figure 2]
sculpture is composed of 2 statues and 1 carved base
object comprises bowl, lid and stand [Figure 1]
group comprises 23 Hollinger boxes containing approximately 15 prints each, 4 rolls of blueprints, 2 video tapes and 10 computer diskettes
set comprises 2 chairs [Figure 14]

DISCUSSION

This subcategory allows for the description of the parts of a particular work or group. The number of objects may be an estimate; this will most often be necessary when a large group of materials is described. The information in this descriptive statement should be indexed in OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - QUANTITY and OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - TYPE.

The focus of the record will vary, depending on local practice and circumstances surrounding the history of the object. For example, one institution might describe a suite of prints as a whole [Figure 34], listing only the number and object type of the 13 engravings contained within it as COMPONENTS. However, another collection may describe the suite, then also fully describe each of the individual engravings; in this case, the parts would be noted as OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS and the records for the parts would be associated with the record for the suite through RELATED WORKS.

Since a single object or work may be made up of a number of different parts, the subcategories OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - QUANTITY and OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - TYPE repeat together. The associations between the OBJECT/WORK and its components must be maintained. These associations may be complex, especially when a given description refers to many objects, each of which itself has constituent parts. Maintaining these relationships will ensure, for example, that a saucer in a tea set remains linked to a cup, rather than being associated with a teapot in the set.

ACCESS

This set of subcategories records the parts of the work referred to in OBJECT/WORK. When the parts are also described individually as object/works, it is necessary to maintain the relationships between the parts and the whole. These relationships are accessible through RELATED WORKS.

If a work is not made up of parts, this subcategory is not used.


Object/Work- Components - Quantity

DEFINITION

The number of parts of a specific type that constitute the object or work described.

EXAMPLES

1 [predella]
7 [panels]
1 [saucer]
25 [boxes]
3 linear feet [drawings]
60 [photographs]
approximately 30 [prints]

DISCUSSION

The number specified in this subcategory is linked with OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - TYPE to describe the quantity and kind of parts of an object. An approximate number of components may be estimated.

USES

This subcategory is used to record how many physical parts of a specific type compose an object.

ACCESS

This subcategory and OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - TYPE may be associated with other COMPONENTS that are part of a larger work or group, as when a panel is part of a predella, which is itself part of an altarpiece.


Object/Work - Components - Type

DEFINITION

The kind of component that is part of the object, work, or group of objects described.

EXAMPLES

panels
folios
paintings
drawings
videos
saucer
prints
orange crates

DISCUSSION

When a description refers to a single object or group that is made up of many parts, the parts are identified here.

USES

As with OBJECT/WORK - TYPE, this subcategory can be used to assemble all works or components of a particular kind.

ACCESS

This, together with OBJECT/WORK - TYPE, is a PRIMARY ACCESS POINT. Researchers will need to find all works of a particular type, whether they are described individually or as a part of a larger whole. For example, a researcher may wish to find photographs, whether they are described individually or they are COMPONENTS of albums.

This subcategory and OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS - QUANTITY may be associated with other COMPONENTS that are part of a larger work or group, as when a saucer is part of a cup and saucer set which is itself part of a tea set.

TERMINOLOGY/FORMAT

The use of controlled vocabulary is recommended, such as the AAT (especially Objects facet), ACRL/RBMS Binding Terms, ACRL/RBMS Genre Terms, ACRL/RBMS Paper Terms, ACRL/RBMS Printing and Publishing Evidence, Base Mérimée: Lexique, the British Archaeological Thesaurus, ICOM Costume Terms, Index of Jewish Art, ISO 5127-3: Iconic Documents, ISO 5127-11: Audio-visual Documents, LC Descriptive Terms for Graphic Materials, Moving Image Materials, Revised Nomenclature, Reyniès' Le Mobilier Domestique, and Tozzer Library Headings.


Object/Work - Remarks

DEFINITION

Additional notes or comments pertinent to the identification of an object or work or its components. Remarks may include a summary of the source or a justification of the term chosen.

Object/Work - Citations

DEFINITION

A reference to a bibliographic source, unpublished document, or individual opinion that provides the basis for the information recorded in OBJECT/WORK.