Introduction to Object ID
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additional recommended categories

Additional Recommended Categories

Of the categories of information not selected for Object ID because there was no clear consensus in favor of their inclusion, five were regarded as being important by a large majority of respondents in at least four of the six communities surveyed. These categories of information are Inventory Number, Related Written Material, Place of Origin/Discovery, Cross Reference to Related Objects, and Date Documented. Anyone recording information about cultural objects should consider including these categories.

Inventory Number

The Inventory Number is the name used by this guide for the accession numbers, inventory numbers, catalogue numbers, or registration numbers used in many museums and collections. Sometimes these numbers are written, painted, or stamped on the objects. The purpose of these identifiers is to connect an object to its documentation and distinguish it from other objects within the same collection, museum, or other repository. They can be simple numbers, or may comprise various types of information, including the acronyms of the organization and the date the object was acquired or accessioned (e.g., 1989.25.1, RIBA X/19). It is important to remember that although an Inventory Number can uniquely identify the object within the institution that holds it, it may not uniquely identify it in the event of theft if other organizations use the same numbering system. If the identifier has been inscribed on the object, it should also be recorded under Inscriptions & Markings

Related Written Material

This category provides references, including citations, to other written material related to the object (e.g., published information and/or specialist reports concerning the object’s significance, provenance, exhibition history, conservation history, scientific tests, contextual information about its maker, or references to standard texts). In the surveys undertaken to identify the categories to be included in Object ID, Related Written Material was believed to be important by 93 percent of the appraisers surveyed, but regarded as less important by the other communities. An alternative is to include this information under Description.

Literature: P.L.W. Arts, Japanese Porcelain, Lochem:
De Tijdstroom, 1983, p. 51, no. 25

Place of Origin/Discovery

This category indicates the name of the place where the object was made or, in the case of archaeological finds, the location where it was discovered. It is recorded with varying degrees of precision, depending on the information available. The location given can be the name of an archaeological site, a city, part of a country, a country, tribal area, or a region of the world. Once again, this information can also be recorded under Description.

Of course, the place the object was made might not be the same as the place of discovery. For example, many objects excavated at Roman sites in countries formerly within that empire originated in other countries once under the rule of Rome. Moreover, it is not uncommon for objects made in the same style to be made in a number of countries. For these reasons it can be difficult to identify the countries from which illegally excavated objects were taken. For example, the Sevso Treasure — comprising fourteen pieces of fourth-century Roman silver — has been claimed by Croatia, Hungary, and Lebanon.

It is important not to confuse the style in which an object was made with its place of origin. If an object is described as being in the Greek style, this does not mean that it necessarily originated in Greece. Similarly, an object said to be in the French taste, is not necessarily French. Style is often used in instead of place of origin when the latter is not known.

Cross Reference to Related Objects

The historical interest of some objects may partly result from their relationship to other objects. It is this relationship that Cross Reference to Related Objects is designed to record.

A closely similar example is in the British Museum, London.

This cabinet may be compared with a similar piece in the Musée Guimet, Paris, and another larger piece in the Dr S.Y. Yip collection, Hong Kong.

Date Documented

The Date Documented is the date on which the description of the object was made. From the appraiser’s point of view, no appraisal is valid without the date the object was documented, together with the name of the creator of the documentation. Evidence of an object’s appearance at a given date could be of value if the object is altered or damaged in some way at some point in the future. This category can also be important for establishing ownership, by proving that an object was in the possession of an individual or organization at a particular date.

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