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Helpful Tips for Finding and Choosing Lexicon Terms in Past Perfect 5.0

by Geoff Woodcox, State Historical Society of North Dakota on

Picking the right Nomenclature term from Past Perfect can be a challenge if you’re unsure of where to look, especially when you aren’t quite sure of the actual Nomenclature term that you should use.

When I first learned to use Past Perfect early when I was still in school, my search strategy was to just keep trying terms until I found one that the program would accept. Aside from being frustrating and time consuming, that approach does not allow for the accuracy that is needed when choosing an object name. With a bit more experience with the program, I learned that Past Perfect has a helpful lexicon search tool for finding the best term.

There are three ways to access this tool, which I will show in Past Perfect 5.0.

The first way is accessible when you’re creating a new object file.  You can click on the Lexicon button just to the right of the object name field.

Past Perfect Object Creation Screen

Past Perfect Object Creation Screen

The second is a lexicon button just to the right of the object term field in the object screen.

Past Perfect Object File

Past Perfect Object File

For the third, which is useful if you don’t currently have an object file open, you back out of the object file and go to the main Past Perfect screen that shows when you first open the program. There’s a button on the bottom left with the word Lexicon.

Past Perfect Main Screen

Past Perfect Main Screen

Whichever option you use, it brings up the Lexicon screen.

Past Perfect Lexicon Screen

Past Perfect Lexicon Screen

You can see that there are two options for searching that can be accessed using the radio buttons in the upper left corner.  First, you can search hierarchically within Nomenclature 3.0’s structure by using the dropdown menus at the top of the screen.  This is useful if you know the category, classification, and sub-classification that you need.  The second, which I find easier, draws up an alphabetical list of all the accepted terms in the lexicon.  By clicking on a term within the list and typing out the word you’re after, it will automatically take you to the closest spelling of what you’ve input.

Some terms seem to fit what you’re looking for until you look at the classification information.  For instance, if you’re cataloging a piggy bank, you might choose the term Bank.  However if you look at the classification for that term in Nomenclature 3.0, the term Bank is for a full size bank building, not a piggy bank.  A more correct term would be Bank, Still or perhaps Bank, Toy. Whether you search using the dropdown menus or alphabetically, it is important to be aware of the category, classification and sub-classification to ensure the accuracy of the term you have chosen.

Though my institution has Past Perfect 5.0, the lexicon search feature is available in previous versions of Past Perfect, and can be accessed similarly.

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