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Structure of Object Principal Element

8. An Object of Desire? (Material Records)


Manufactured, crafted, or naturally-occurring things, excluding Place, Being, and Work carriers

<Object type="manufactured" 
        <Name>Camera Lucida</Name>
            <String id="123456" substitute="Code">

Object is a "substantive" Principal Element. It is broadly defined to comprise tangible exemplars of most three-dimensional entities and their fictional counterparts, excepting those covered by other Principal Elements. They include specimens of naturally occurring objects and samples of materials or substances, as well as crafted or manufactured artifacts and samples of processed or refined materials or substances. Material Records usually have supplied names to represent individual specimens/samples or assembled collections, but sometimes an Object has a proper name, which may be used also as an authority, when the actual item is not held.

Currently, there are several important exclusions from Object. Notably, the abstract idea of a physical thing or the generic class to which it belongs (i.e. all baskets or all gold everywhere) is a Concept. Globes and three-dimensional maps are considered Work due to their intellectual content. Likewise, sculpture and other art objects are treated as Work due to the artistic purpose or intent behind them.The distinction is based on the original intended purpose; thus an ancient teapot, despite exhibiting its maker's skill/talent, its antiquity, its aesthetic appeal, or its being collected by an art museum, remains an Object. This differs from AACR2's three-dimensional artefacts and realia.Containers or carriers for works, e.g. a book or a cassette, may legitimately be thought of as Object, but these are usually appended to bibliographic descriptions, and in XOBIS more properly belong to the projected schemas for holdings and items. Due to scale (large) and attachment (not collectable), topographic features (e.g. Ayres Rock) and fixed/permanent structures (e.g. Parthenon) belong to Place. Despite scale, structure and much discussion of geopositioning, mobility currently determines that vehicles and other mobile structures are treated as Object. "Whole" organisms belong to Being, while separated anatomical specimens (cells, tissues, and organs) and fossils are Object in the sense that they are divorced from their once vital existence. See the separate sections for these related Principal Elements for further clarification of our current interpretations, as definitions continue to emerge.

Currently, Object has an optional 'type' attribute with values:natural, crafted, or manufactured. It also has a 'role' attribute to indicate authority, instance, or authority/instance, with tangibility determining instance. Its Entry has an optional 'class' attribute with values:individual, collective, or referential, and may have 'language' and 'transliteration'.The optional Version element applies to Object, as defined under Generic Elements above. It supports a degree of variation, often found in manufactured products, without the need to create separate records.Policies would be needed; cf. a suggested role in the BMW example toward the end of this section. It is not intended to house component parts of objects, as these should be handled as Relationships between objects where needed.Routine inclusion of date and edition as Qualifiers, when applicable, helps prevent entry collisions.

The interpretation of Object in XOBIS gives objects parity with other "substantive" Principal Elements.This results in a fairly cohesive grouping, despite the many distinctions. Defining how to delineate authorities from instances is challenging.The manufactured attribute value proves useful in this regard, although an agreed definition would be critical for consistency in application (e.g. hand-sewn versus machine-sewn, original prototype versus mass-produced copy, or workshop versus factory).Manufacture parallels the situation of the ordinary printed Work, where all holdings can be linked to the same Record.In this regard, holdings provide disambiguation for the same item held by various institutions or individuals.As natural and crafted objects tend to be inherently different, they theoretically would require a separate Record with a unique Entry. This is parallel to an archival collection or a manuscript, each of which has a separate identity.

To enforce this kind of extra-catalog uniqueness, a special, non-repeatable "qualifier", Identifier, is provided separately from the Qualifiers element. It consists of an Organization and String,which could be borrowed from holdings. In local displays, the Identifier could be omitted, as well as when the Entry is unique without the Identifier. Names should be clear enough to be understood independently; either an Organization's Entry or Substitute Entry may be used.The mockups reflecting this are poor, as we lack practical examples and have tried to save space, but attempt to illustrate the distinction. Identifier is shown in brackets for clarity. Other ideas regarding conveying the distinction may emerge.Expert subject advice is needed.For contrast: The container element Qualifiers is repeatable when needed for the identification of an instance ('role' attribute) of such natural or crafted objects. Disambiguation at the Principal Element level is only needed for a manufactured Object when its name conflicts with that of another, whereas the state of our current thinking suggests that each unique Object should have an unambiguous Entry to prevent confusion in virtual catalogs or the Web environment, hence Identifier.

In these examples, potential Relationships on the right are Conceptual unless otherwise indicated. Other selected Relationships and Varia are indented.Values are based mostly on LCSH and are included to indicate possibilities and broad issues, rather than rigorous fidelity. A bullet (•) indicates that the Object is likely to be only an authority in most databases.

Object Entry(Qualifiers)[Identifier] Concept
type (class) Category: (plural)
natural (collective)
Diamonds, Uncut (Collection) [CSt-L : 310] Diamonds
Minerals of Oklahoma (Collection) [Lane : 3847] Minerals
natural (individual)
• Lunar Rock Sample (No. 70017). Gift to Honduras Lunar Rocks ?
[Note: sample divided for presentation]
Collected: 1972-12 Time
Presented to (1973-03): Honduras Place
Purchased by (1995): Rosen, Alan Being
Related: Apollo 17 (Space Flight : 1972) Event
Related: United States v. Lucite Ball Containing Lunar MaterialWork
Related: Operation Lunar Eclipse (Sting Operation : 1998) Event
Human Brain Preserved in Formaldehyde [Lane Medical Library : 4798] Anatomical Specimens /Brain
• Lucy (Hominid) Fossil Hominids
•Sue (Dinosaur) Dinosaurs
Discovered by (1990) : Hendrickson, Sue, 1949-
Purchased by (1997) : Field Museum of Natural History
Simosthenurus occidentalis (Fossil) [ABC : 123] Marsupials, Fossil /Extinct Animals
Simosthenurus occidentalis (Fossil) [XYZ : 789] Marsupials, Fossil /Extinct Animals
Coelacanth (Fossil) [British Museum : 345782] Coelacanthiformes, Fossil
Latimeria chalumnae (Smith : 1939) [ANM : 387] Coelacanthiformes, Fossil
Amber with Fly Inclusion [Amber Museum : no. 8] Amber Fossils / Flies, Fossil

Natural objects need work, especially regarding identity and supplied names. Fossils are problematical in being surrogates for organisms, with which they have parallel or identical names, which is reflected in LCSH. It is assumed that such entries would have Relationships between the fossil Concept and the non-fossil Concept, e.g. Fossil Hominids and Hominids. In contrast to the fossil Coelacanth represented above, an Entry for Being would be needed to represent a captured specimen, perhaps: Coelacanth (Specimen) [Fish Museum : no. 352] with Category: Coelacanthiformes.More specificity is needed in some areas, e.g. Tyranosaurus rex. With closer cooperation, there is potential for at least some specimens of natural objects to effectively share a Record, with distinctions limited to Version or Holdings. In any case, much more investigation is needed.

Object Entry (Qualifiers) [Identifier] Concept
type (class) Category: (plural)
crafted (collective)
Collection of Teapots [Bartlett : #3222] Ceramic Teapots
Tea Service (Frost, V. : undated) Solitaires (Tableware)
[Gilcrease Museum : no. 1856]
crafted (individual)
Apothecary Jar with Lid (<1740-1760>) Delftware Jars?
[Louvre : 37581] Apothercary Jars ?
•ASIMO (Android : 2000) Androids
Variant: Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility
Grand Piano (ca. 1815 : Thÿm) Piano
[National Music Museum (University of South Dakota) : No. 3587]
•Hope Diamond Diamonds
Harpsichord (1694 : DeQuoco) Harpsichord
Maker: DeQuoco, Nicolaus Being
Mace-head Inscribed in Sumerian with the Ceremonial Maces
Name of Mesilim, King of Kish, and Antiquities ?
Dedicated to the God Ningirsu (ca. 2550 BC) Sumerian and Akkadian
[Metropolitan Museum of Art : 1956-1234] Royal Inscriptions
•Niña II (Caravel : Replica : 1962) Caravels/ Replicas ?
Tankard with "Four-Flower" Decoration Tankards
(ca.1565-1575) [Gulbenkian Museum : 3456] Fritware?
Islamic Antiquities ?
Teapot (Japan : 1700s) [Tokyo National Museum : 1234] Ceramic Teapots
•Vasa (Warship : 1628) Warships
Built: Stockholm, Sweden Place
Builder: Hybertsson, Henrik Being
Launched: 1628-08-10 Time
Sank: 1628-08-10 Time
Salvaged: 1961 Time
Exhibited: Vasa Museet Organization [Swedish]
Wooden Figure of a Chief, Ndengese African Art (Congolese) ?
Tribe (1900s) [Museum of African Art : 3789]

Crafted objects share the problem of identity and disambiguation (and our lack of familiarity with museum practice) with the previous examples. Some of the examples may belong in the manufactured group, but it is difficult to decide without guidelines. The value mixed may be needed to cover collections containing both manufactured and crafted items. The same is true of the need for a definition of collective. Is one set with 100 pieces individual and a collection with ten items collective?

Object Entry(Qualifiers) Concept
type (class) Category: (plural)
manufactured (collective)
China Service (Lenox : Eternal) Ceramic Tableware
manufactured (individual)
• Excalibur III (Airplane) Mustang (Fighter Plane)Object
• Haven (Hospital Ship : 1945-1957) Hospital Ships
• Hubble Space Telescope Telescopes
• Kodak ? [Product Brand]
Instamatic Camera Cameras [Trademark]
• Mercury (Ship) Ships
• Model T (Automobile) Ford (Automobile Make) ?
• Mustang (Fighter Plane) Fighter Planes
• Nellybelle (Automobile) Jeep (Automobile Make) ?Object
• Scrabble (Game) Board Games / Word Games
• Scrabble (Game : Deluxe ed. : 1985) Board Games / Word Games
• Scrabble (Game : Travel ed. : 1977) Board Games / Word Games
Copyright: 1977 Time
• Spirit of St. Louis (Airplane) Airplanes
Stethoscope (Miltex : 1960s) Stethoscopes
Stethoscope (Pilling : 1900s) Stethosocpes
Teddy Bear (Steiff : 1990s : Mr. Cinnamon) Teddy Bears
Replica: Teddy Bear (Steiff : 1903)

Manufactured products may require some special rules regarding naming. Note that instantiations of some concepts as objects, e.g. airplanes and automobiles, may be further instantiated by other objects as shown above. XOBIS largely relies on proper nouns for such distinctions as discussed in other sections. Brands and trademarks need further investigation. Correlation with LCSH is difficult in this area; for example, the heading "Business names" is used for "Brands (Commerce)", "Firm names", and "Trade names", mixing the concepts of Organization and Object. Further study of the literature and involvement of the museum community is needed to refine the Object element.

Instead of establishing subjects for instantiations of Concept, XOBIS uses a Relationship to establish the connection between the Object and the Concept, or between two different Objects.Consider these LCSH headings:

Contrast this with treating these as Material Records, eliminating the precoordination, treating this as a case of disambiguation, and using NameSegment for more granularity. Note that each segment has a separate qualifier.For more specificity, a Version may also be added, which should be weighed against repeating NameSegment again.The overall structure provides flexibility in building indexes as shown in earlier examples.

For fictional things, the same issues apply as with other Principal Elements. An Object is an instantiation of some category (Concept) that represents fictionality, and it has a Fictional or similar Relationship to its real counterpart, usually a collective Concept. The Fictional Relationship is akin to the Depiction, Portrayal or Artificial ones. See the discussions of fiction under each Principal Element and the Relationships section for more information.

Object Entry Category: Relationship
Data (Android) Fictional Objects ?
Fictional: Androids
Assembled: ca. 2336
Excalibur (Legendary Sword) Legendary Objects ?
Fictional: Swords
Grail Lengendary Objects ?
Variant: Holy Grail
Legendary: Chalices
Powdermilk Biscuits (Fictional Product) Fictional Products ?
Fictional: Processed Foods
Related: Corporate Sponsorship
Vitameatavegemin (Fictional Product) Fictional Products ?
Fictional: Elixirs

To complete the circle, conceptualRelationships would be in order:

The treatment of Object in XOBIS combines collected exemplars and authorities for unheld ones (and fictional ones) because they have close affinity to each other, separated only by mutable ownership.This provides additional structural integrity to XOBIS and facilitates establishing Relationships. It should also simplify authority work. Once umbrella concepts and objects are established, adding additional exemplars should be relatively easy.