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Pacific Northwest Artist Thesaurus

PNAT (Pacific Northwest Artist Thesaurus) is not bound to a specific institution or collection but is instead designed to be interoperable with a variety of collections, for use by cultural institutions working with collections that include Pacific Northwest artists. Cultural institutions include museums, art libraries, special collections, archives, and visual resource collections. Thesaurus users may include: museum staff tasked with indexing collection artifacts, artworks, reference material, and artist archives; and collection users who want to find, identify, and select terms and documents within the domain of Pacific Northwest art and artists.


General information
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Current version date: 
Mon, 2011-06-06
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Scope and Usage

While there are several extant examples of controlled vocabularies that focus on art and artists, including those of the Getty Research Institute, the Pacific Northwest Artist Thesaurus is unique in its domain of artists affiliated with the Pacific Northwest. For the purposes of this thesaurus, the Pacific Northwest is defined as the geographical region bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Rocky Mountains and which includes Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Although PNAT is not an exhaustive thesaurus of Pacific Northwest artist terms, its design is hospitable to expansion of the thesaurus, with an eye towards interoperability across art institutions in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest Artists Thesaurus was originally created to be used, in conjunction with a Name Authority File, by Seattle Art Museum librarians and volunteers, but its broader intended purpose is to assist art librarians, historians and art enthusiasts with information retrieval specific to the domain of Pacific Northwest artists. As a complement to the Seattle Art Museum Name Authority File (SAM NAF), the thesaurus was developed to provide a conceptual framework for proper names of northwest artists and related terminology. PNAT's hierarchically structured indexing language expresses relationships between hierarchically ordered concepts: individuals, corporate bodies, historical events, geography, artistic movements, styles, and media. 


Vocabulary characteristics
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University of Washington Information School