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Add a Term to PastPerfect 5

by Sarah Kapellusch, Wisconsin Veterans Museum on

If you have experience cataloging museum collections in PastPerfect 5, then it is likely that at some point you’ve needed to use an object name that was not listed in Nomenclature 3.0. With each new edition of Chenhall’s Nomenclature for Museum Cataloging, many new terms are added to the lexicon. However, because there are so many unique and specific objects found within museum collections, it is impossible to include an object name for every conceivable artifact and sometimes, you need a way to catalog an object  using a term that is not listed in the lexicon.

There are several ways to catalog an object when the specific object name is not available. You might select a less specific, generic term as the controlled object name and then include the more specific term in a different search field such as Other Name or Title. For ethnographic collections, you might select a contemporary term that represents the function of the object even if it is not the historically accurate object name. Sometimes, the best solution is to add the specific term needed to your lexicon. If you are using PastPerfect version 5, you can easily add a term to your lexicon and classify it within the hierarchy of Nomenclature 3.0.

Before adding a new term to the lexicon, first make sure that it is not already in Nomenclature 3.0. Check spelling, word order and review the list of non-preferred terms to see if it has been overlooked.

To add a term to the lexicon, sign in to PastPerfect 5 and from the home page go to Setup at the top left and select Lexicon from the pull down menu.

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Capture2(Lexicon Setup Screen)

To add a new term, select the button at the bottom of the setup screen to Add Category, Class or Term.

 Once you have entered a new primary term, you will fill in the appropriate category, classification and sub-classification in order to organize the new term into the structure and hierarchical system of Nomenclature 3.0.

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In this example, I have added the term Trousers as a primary term in the Category: Personal Artifacts, Classification: Clothing, Sub-Classification: Main Garments. Once I have reviewed my additions, I select the button to Add New Primary Term and it will be added to the database lexicon for use as an accepted primary object name by catalogers.

As a general rule, it is best if only one staff member manages the lexicon including adding and reviewing terms, adding classifications, sub-classifications, and definitions, and checking for errors. PastPerfect 5 allows users to have unique permissions so access to the lexicon can be limited to appropriate staff.

Also, once a term has been added to the lexicon, be sure to go to the Nomenclature Community Site and submit the term for  review by the Nomenclature Committee. The term could be included in a future edition.

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