Paper presented  at the annual CIDOC 2017 conference, September 25-30, Tbilisi, Georgia

Both Iconclass and AAT are widely used multilingual systems to describe and annotate works of art and the content and scope of AAT and Iconclass differ noticeably, but also know overlap. I want to explore and present a solution where the overlap between the two is linked at a keyword level through AAT concepts.

The content of Iconclass in short: It contains 28,000 hierarchically ordered definitions divided into ten main divisions. Each definition consists of an alphanumeric classification code (notation) and the description of the iconographic subject (textual correlate). It also contains a alphabetical index of 14,000 keywords used for locating the notation and its textual correlate needed to describe and/or index an image. The system is available as Linked Open Data (LOD)

The multilingual AAT contains more than 42.000 generic concepts, organized in 8 facets, about material heritage, like art and architecture, but also techniques, materials and living creatures. It is published by the Getty Vocabularies as LOD.

Both systems are structured as thesauri. And it is possible to link the two systems on a concept level, but this will only work for a small portion because the two differ in content and focus a lot. Connecting the iconclass keywords with AAT concepts will deliver more results. Iconclass uses 14.000 different keywords (multilingual) to help users find the right key. These keywords could also be utilized as extensive annotations besides the iconclass code.

At this moment iconclass keywords are not ‘concept based’. So they are not represented as unique elements with an ID, description or place in a hierarchy. Linked data demands that these element have a unique URI (Uniform Reference Identifier) . So for instance the keyword ‘Roman could be linked to the equivalent AAT concept through the following URI:

These mappings could become a integral part of the iconclass LOD.

The connection between Iconclass and AAT provides Iconclass users with ready to use AAT-concepts that could be added to the object description. Thus providing access to the full semantic content of a AAT record, with multilingual labels, equivalent, alternative terms, description of the concept, etc. This could provide a useful bridge to other collections using AAT concepts.

Author: Reem Weda, Information Specialist Terminologies at RKD-Netherlands Institute for Art History, The Hague, Netherlands

Slideshare for the presentation slides
Iconclass and LOD_Full_paper_Rweda_CIDOC17


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