The Dutch Art & Architecture Thesaurus Put into Practice: The Example of Anet, Antwerp

Karen Andree, Reem Weda


Anet is a network of scientific libraries located in
Antwerp, Belgium. Among the connected institutions are research, higher
education and museum libraries. In 2014 was decided to adopt a new subject
heading system for cataloging the library collections with an art or heritage
scope. The Art & Architecture Thesaurus® (maintained by the Getty Research
Institute) was eventually selected, under the express condition that it can be
used in a flexible way by the libraries. The local subject heading systems
(terminologies) were converted to the new authority environment (Anet-AAT).
Manual mapping was performed because of the different application as subject
heading system and the opportunity to acquaint the librarians with AAT. Future
challenges for the Anet-AAT vocabulary consist of staying updated with changes
that occur in the ‘Mother AAT’ (Getty Vocabularies) and adding to its content to
create more library specific subjects - AAT is presently quite focused on the
description of (museum) objects. The content pf ATT is quite well suited for
indexing the special libraries. Nevertheless, the usage by the network did bring
to light issues in the structure of AAT, particularly some concerning the Dutch
translation. The necessity to address these issues has resulted in regular
contacts between Anet and the RKD-Netherlands Institute for Art History that
manages the Dutch translation of the AAT. The adaptation of AAT by Anet has
proven to be a promising showcase for the potential of this ‘museum thesaurus’
as a subject heading system for libraries as well.

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