Glossary

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Some of the terms used on this wiki and in CA documentation refer to specific CollectiveAccess concepts and data structures. While most of these terms are derived from standard library, archive and information science terminology, they are sufficiently “overloaded” with meanings that a short glossary may be helpful.

Advanced Search 
A query tool that allow searching multiple fields across tables from a single form. Unlike common advanced search options that limit how and what can be searched, CollectiveAccess advanced search forms can be customized using the Advanced Search Form Builder, and there is no limit as to how many different forms can be used within the system.
Attribute (metadata) 
Information structured in the form of an element and attached to an Item.
Browse 
A faceted method of searching that filters results by Primary Types.
Collections 
A defined group of Objects. Collections can represent physical collections, symbolic collections of Items associated by some criteria, or any other arbitrary grouping. Collections can handle complex cataloging, and therefore can be used for everything from simple grouping of objects to containers for collection-level finding aids. Collections should be used for long-term associations of Objects in your institution. For temporary or administrative groupings of Objects, see Sets.
Element (metadata) 
A definition of a single self-contained unit of information, composed of one or more values. An element is often equivalent to the common notion of a “field” but can in some cases be considerably more complex. For example a “description” element is usually composed of a single text value, while an “address” element is often composed of several text, numeric and enumerated List Values arranged in a hierarchy.
Entities 
People or organizations. These are the creators, artists, donors, publishers and others involved in some way with your collection. Once an Entity is created in CollectiveAccess, it can be linked to other records within the database with Relationships.
Facet 
A generic term used to denote a component of a Subject, List, or Type.
Find 
A targeted search based on Primary Types.
Item 
A subject to be described using descriptive, administrative and/or technical metadata. In typical cataloguing workflows types of items might include collection Objects, accessioned Object Lots, people (“Entities” in CA), geographic Places, Collections, film productions, exhibitions and bibliographic references.
Georeferencing 
Adding geographic metadata to your Items through direct entry of latitude and longitude values or upload of KML/KMZ files, usually created in a mapping application such as GoogleEarth, containing one or more latitude/longitude pairs.
Groups 
Used when creating Advanced Search Forms, Groups allow for multiple Elements to be put together into collapsible units that create dynamic yet complex search forms.
Label 
A string of text used as the name of an Item. There are, broadly speaking, two categories of labels: preferred labels are used as the “true” name of the item; nonpreferred labels are alternative names. While an item may have labels in several languages and any number of non-preferred labels, it is restricted to a single preferred label per language.
List 
A simple or hierarchical group of List Items. Lists are used throughout CollectiveAccess in the following contexts: (1) as drop-down lists constraining the values of an Element; (2) as controlled vocabularies whose List Items can be associated with Objects, Entities, Places, etc.; and (3) as system lists whose List Item values customize CollectiveAccess for application-level uses. All Lists must be assigned a unique List name, which is used internally to identify your List.
List Items 
The entries that comprise a List. All List Items have an intrinsic value and an identifier, as well as one or more text Labels used for display.
Lots 
Lots usually record basic intake information (donor, date of receipt, etc.) for a donation or acquisition, prior to Object-level cataloguing.
Lot Events 
An event in the life-cycle of a Lot. Each Lot Event includes a planned date as well and the actual date of occurrence. Different types of Lot Events (e.g., acquisition events, deaccession events) can be recorded by defining Lot Event types and assigning appropriate metadata Elements for each type.
Object 
Assets within a collection. Usually these are the physical or born-digital Items you are managing.
Object Events 
An event in the life-cycle of an Object. Each Object Event includes a planned date as well and the actual date of occurrence. Different types of Object Events (e.g., conservation events, movement events, loan events) can be recorded by defining Object Event types and assigning appropriate metadata Elements for each type.
Occurrences 
Events or “things.” An Occurrence is a catch-all term used by CollectiveAccess to refer to contextual Items that may require complex cataloguing but are not Entities, Places, Collections or Storage Locations. You can use Occurrences to support structured authorities for virtually any kind of item. Typically, Occurrences are used to support records for historical events, exhibitions, film productions and bibliographies.
Places 
Physical locations, geographic or otherwise. Places are inherently hierarchical allowing you to nest more specific Place records within broader ones. Once a Place is created, it can be referred to throughout the system using Relationships.
Primary Types 
Objects, Entities, Places, Collections, and Occurrences.
QuickSearch 
Searches the entire database across all Primary Types.
Relationship 
A link between two Items. In CA, relationships typically store additional information beyond the basic linkage, including the type of relation, source of relation and an optional range of dates for which the relationship existed. For example, a relationship between an Object and an Entity may have a type of “donated” (eg. “entity donated object”) or “is depicted by” (eg. “entity is depicted by object”), a bibliographic reference as a source and a date range (eg, 1921- 1945) qualifier. Only a type is required for all relationships.
Representation 
Digital media (image, video, audio, document, etc.) that serves to represent a catalogued Object. For example, for a film, representations may include a derived MPEG-4 video stream, one or more still images or an image of the reel of film itself. The precise nature of the representation depends upon the Object being catalogued, the intent of the cataloguer and digitization constraints.
Screens 
A label used in User Interface Definitions for Installation Profiles. Screens are used to separate metadata attributes into multiple menus, allowing one to create a taylored cataloging workflow.
Set 
An ordered grouping of Items defined by users for a specific purpose. Unlike Collections, Sets are ad-hoc groups of records created by a user for a practical purpose (e.g., a working checklist for an upcoming exhibition, or a set of Entities for which biographical information is needed). They are typically temporary groupings and thus not meant for collection-level cataloguing.
Set Item 
An item assigned to a Set. Records in a Set can take additional cataloguing, allowing one to contextualize and annotate records within an assigned Set. This enables the construction of Sets where each record contains Set-specific captions and links. This makes Sets and Set Items a great tool for constructing slideshows and tours based on your collection records.
Storage Locations 
Physical locations where Objects are stored. Like Places, Storage Locations are hierarchical – you can nest Locations to allow notation at any level of specificity (building, room, cabinet, drawer). Each Storage Location can take arbitrarily complex cataloguing, including access restrictions, map coordinates and other information. Storage Locations can be linked to both Objects and Lots, either directly, or through Object Events or Lot Events.
Subjects 
Library of Congress Subject Headings or any other controlled vocabulary used to relate topics or descriptors to an Item.
Tag 
a non-hierarchical free-text keyword or term assigned to an item. In CA, tags are always provided by end-users, not cataloguers, and are intended as supplemental “user generated” cataloguing.
User Interface 
The place where the interaction between the human cataloger and the CA database occur. These are typically comprised of multiple cataloging Screens. In CA, the User Interface is completely configurable.
Vocabulary Lists 
Lists used within the software whose List Item values are referred to in Subject lookups.

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