What is CCO?
Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images (CCO) is a manual for describing, documenting, and cataloging cultural works and their visual surrogates. The primary focus of CCO is art and architecture, including but not limited to paintings, sculpture, prints, manuscripts, photographs, built works, installations, and other visual media. CCO also covers many other types of cultural works, including archaeological sites, artifacts, and functional objects from the realm of material culture.

Who should use CCO?
CCO is designed for use by professionals in museum collections, visual resource collections, archives, and libraries that have a primary emphasis on art, architecture, and material culture.

How is CCO organized?
CCO is organized in three parts. Part One examines the issues that must be considered during the analytical process of describing one-of-a-kind objects, including guidance for minimal records, relationships between work and image records, and describing complex works. It also provides an overview of database design and entity relationships and authority Ūles and controlled vocabularies. Part Two covers the rules for descriptive cataloging, organized by the core elements needed to describe cultural works and images. This part of the manual also includes guidelines for selecting terminology, with recommendations for the order, syntax, and form in which data values should be entered into a data structure for display and indexing. Part Three includes chapters on a personal and corporate name authority, a geographic place authority, a subject authority, and an authority for generic concepts.

• CCO is the latest standards tool for the cultural heritage community.
• CCO provides descriptive standards for art, architecture, cultural objects, and their images.
• CCO is organized by core data elements needed to describe cultural objects.
• CCO includes lists of terminology sources.
• CCO illustrates hundreds of examples.
• CCO covers vocabularies and authority control.
• CCO maps to the CDWA core and VRA Core 4.0 metadata element sets.
• CCO can be used with other descriptive standards tools and metadata element sets.

Editors (on behalf of the Visual Resources Association)
Murtha Baca (Head, Getty Vocabulary Program and Digital Resource Management, Getty Research Institute); Patricia Harpring (Managing Editor, Getty Vocabulary Program); Elisa Lanzi (Director, Imaging Center, Smith College Department of Art); Linda McRae (Director, College of Visual and Performing Arts Visual Resources Library, University of South Florida); Ann Whiteside (Head, Rotch Library of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Advisory Committee
Matthew Beacom (Metadata Librarian, Yale University Library, and member of the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR2); Erin Coburn (Manager, Collections Information, J. Paul Getty Museum); Jan Eklund (Curator of Visual Resources, Department of History of Art, University of California, Berkeley); Mary Elings (Archivist for Digital Collections, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley); Ardys Kozbial (Digital Projects Librarian, University of California, San Diego); Elizabeth O’Keefe (Director of Collection Information Systems, Pierpont Morgan Library); Trish Rose (Metadata Librarian, University of California, San Diego); Layna White (Head of Collections Information, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)

Project Manager
Diane Zorich

Financial support provided by
The Getty Foundation and The Digital Library Federation (DLF) with assistance from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Web Site:

Publication: June 2006, ALA Editions / American Library Association

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