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AAT Terms

Page history last edited by Jenn Miller 9 years, 5 months ago

These Art and Architecture Thesaurus terms are for the Rice University Commencement Programs project


We will be using Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) terms selectively in order to identify noteworthy physical aspects of the items we are cataloging. We are not using AAT to identify the subject of the items (what the item is about, or what the item is a concept of). It may be useful to think of using AAT terms to identify the genre or form of an item.


AAT terms are hierarchical, so do not use two or more terms that are in the same branch of a hierarchy. For example, you would not assign the terms "ephemera" AND "printed ephemera" because they are simply broader and narrower terms for the same object genre. I've indicated this in the list below by indenting the terms. Using the AAT can be confusing to navigate. Please ask Jenn for help if you need some guidance.


Note: AAT terms are not capitalized (unless they actually contain a proper noun, but we aren't using any of those for this project)


Specific Uses


  • Photocopy of newspaper article clippings: use three terms: ephemera, clippings (information artifacts), and photocopies
    • if it was an actual newspaper clipping (not a photocopy, in other words), you'd only use ephemera and clippings (information artifacts)
  • Commencement program: use programs (documents)
  • Commencement Invitation card: use ephemera and invitations
  • Items that are mainly or completely photographic images or are heavily illustrated: bring to Jenn or Amanda.
  • list of graduates: use ephemera and lists (document genres)



Easy-Reference Glossary : Terms you might use


Be sure and look in the actual Art and Architecture Thesaurus if you think these terms do not work for your item.


  • booklets -- Small books consisting of a few sheets that are glued, stitched or stapled together between thin card or paper covers.
  • books -- Items comprising a collection of leaves of paper, parchment, wood, stiffened textile, ivory, metal tablets, or other flat material, that are blank, written on, or printed, and are strung or bound together in a volume.
  • broadsides (notices) -- Sizable single-sheet notices or advertisements printed on one or both sides, often chiefly textual rather than pictorial, and printed to be read unfolded. For the format in which the sheet is not folded, use "broadsheet (format)." For folded sheets having printed matter that generally does not cross the folds, use "folders (printed matter)".
  • cards (information artifacts) -- Rectangular pieces of stiff paper or plastic, usually of standard dimensions, used as a support on which information is typed, written, or transcribed. This term is not the same as "invitations".
  • clippings (information artifacts) -- Illustrations, pages, articles, or columns of text removed from books, newspapers, journals, or other printed sources and kept for their informational content.
  • ´╗┐documents ´╗┐ -- Physical or digital representations of a body of information designed with the capacity to communicate. In its broadest sense, "documents" include any item amenable to cataloging and indexing, that is, including non-print media.
  • drafts -- Preliminary or tentative versions of documents.
  • ephemera  -- Items manufactured for a specific, limited use, and usually intended to be discarded thereafter, such as printed material of interest for its appearance, association, design, or documentation produced in connection with art exhibitions, etc.
  • invitations -- Engraved, printed, or written expressions requesting a person's company at a certain event at a given time and place
  • leaflets (printed works) -- Small printed works consisting of one small-sized leaf of paper folded and not stitched or bound, containing printed matter, chiefly for gratuitous distribution.
  • lists (document genres) --  Transcribed collections of numbers, names, or other text indicating tallies of concepts collocated for any particular purpose.
  • pamphlets -- Independent publications consisting of a few leaves of printed matter folded or fastened together but not bound, often with no cover or a paper cover. For smaller printed works, of one sheet folded and not stitched or bound, use "leaflets."
  • pictures (two-dimensional representations) -- Two-dimensional representations of persons, animals, objects, places or phenomena, typically such representations in the media of painting, drawing, photography, film, or in digital formats. Use this at all? Maybe the drawing of the owl.
  • printouts -- The printed output of a computer.
  • photocopies -- General term for copies produced by photocopying, that is, in a machine employing a light-sensitive process, and usually at a one-to-one scale. In the early to mid-20th century, used regarding copies made by various specific processes; since the mid-20th century, most often refers to xerographic copies.
  • programs (documents) -- Brief outlines or explanations of the order to be pursued, criteria for participation, or the subjects embraced in a given event or endeavor. Includes lists of the features composing a dramatic or other performance, with the names of participants
  • speeches -- Documents containing the text of any public address or talk.
  • transcripts --  Use both for copies transcribed from an original text or document and also for written records of words originally spoken, such as of court proceedings, broadcasts, or oral histories.

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