Dumbarton Oaks employs a variety of metadata standards that govern both how our descriptions are formed (content standards) and how they are displayed (structure standards).
ARCHIVAL DESCRIPTIONS for documents meet the content standards of: General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD-G) and Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS). For more information about descriptive standards and local practices, see the Finding Aid Style Guide created by the ICFA staff.
NAMES adhere to the content standards of the International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR-CPF). The authorized form of name is based on the version of the name by which the individual, family, or corporate body is most commonly known. Other forms of names include: alternative spellings or names, initials, nicknames, and names with diacritics.
Name authority records also include references to sources of biographical information such as:
• Virtual International Authority File (VIAF)
• Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF)
• Other Library of Congress authorities (http://id.loc.gov)
• Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
• Dumbarton Oaks Oral History interviews
• The Dictionary of Art Historians
PLACES are displayed according to their actual appellation and affiliation today. The standardized form for a place term is according to the current official language for the site, with the exception of occasional generally accepted place terms such as Hagia Sophia, Cairo, etc. Whenever possible, the closest inhabited settlement is chosen as a preferred term. Please note that international standards for romanization have not been applied for the preferred term to avoid display of special characters, but forms with diacritics are given as alternative terms. Other forms for place terms include: in a different language, with diacritics, and alternative spellings. Ancient and outdated place names have also been given as alternative names.
Every place is contextualized within its broader political system, usually on the level of country, and when necessary (e.g., in the United States) on the level of state. Important distinctive landscapes (e.g., islands), or political divisions that are not internationally recognized (e.g., Northern Cyprus) are also distinguished.
Place terms are based on the following gazetteers and vocabularies:
• Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN)
• DAI-Gazetteer (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut)
• Trismegistos Places
• United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) World Geographical Names
SUBJECTS are terms that describe or represent the content, medium, and period of a collection or an item. The preferred subject term is given in singular form, while the plural form is included as an equivalent term. Composite terms, e.g., Ancient art, are given as an entity. Sites that are no longer extant or concepts for places that cannot be proven to have existed are defined as Subjects. For example, the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, which was demolished and the Fatih Camii built on its site, is recorded as a Subject, not a Place. The same guideline applies to people. While a historically attested person, e.g., Justinian I will be found under Names, the Virgin Mary is defined as a Subject term.
Subject terms are based on the following vocabularies and authorities:
• Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
• Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
• The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium
• Multilingual Illustrated Dictionary of Byzantine Architecture and Sculpture Terminology
• Princeton Index of Christian Art