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I am excited by some recent discussion on the VRA discussion list on a topic near and dear to my heart – next generation OPACs that integrate artworks with bibliographic records by utilizing crossworks between existing standards (LCSH and the AAT, e.g.) and creating unique identifiers for artworks (a problem that seems more insurmountable than it should be). I have followed with great interest the technologies and innovations that may be making this integration closer to a reality.
The Getty Institute has always been at the forefront of this effort. From the Getty Vocabularies to the Art and Architecture Thesaurus and the Union List of Artists Names, they are the art cataloging equivalent of the Library of Congress when it comes to the rules of standardization. There is no doubt that these two entities should work together in the efforts towards universal standards for art collections and libraries. I dream of the day when an OPAC is a friendly, searchable receptacle that holds all varieties of formats and materials and designates their relationships.
The Getty is currently working on a project known as CONA (Cultural Objects Name Authority) which in theory is similar to the LC authority files. According to the website, CONA will create authority records for cultural works found in literature, visual resource collections, archives, and libraries. These will be “unique physical works” (i.e. not music, dramatic works, film, or works of literature). This type of record would help set the groundwork for standardized cataloging of artwork and effective crosswalks between cultural resources and bibliographic records. Exciting.