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The documentation and management of information about places related to the collection being described.


  • Allow users to compile authorized terms or headings used by a single organization or consortium in cataloging, indexing, or documentation (CDWA)
  • Establish the preferred name for a geographic location, etc.
  • Allow for the management of synonyms and related terms, including non-hierarchical "associative relationships" among authorities
  • Allow users to create hierarchies within authority records
  • Enable term control in intake records, object records, and other authorities
  • The authority should be compliant with ISO and NISO standards for thesauri (CDWA)
  • Allow users to capture and manage information about coordinates including information from georeferencing activities (whether by person or computer) used by mapping applications

Standards, Guidelines + Use Cases


The Place authority contains information about geographic places important to the cultural works and creators. The places noted in this authority include both physical features and administrative entities.

Physical features include entities that are part of the natural physical condition of the planet, such as continents, rivers, and mountains.

Administrative geographic entities include man-made or cultural entities typically defined by political and administrative boundaries, such as empires, nations, states, districts, townships, and cities.

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View CDWA Location Sub-Categories

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29.1. Place Authority Record Type
29.2. Place Name
29.2.1. Preference
29.2.2. Name Type
29.2.3. Name Qualifier
29.2.4. Name Language
29.2.5. Historical Flag
29.2.6. Display Name Flag
29.2.7. Other Name Flags
29.2.8. Name Source Page
29.2.9. Name Date Earliest Date Latest Date
29.3. Geographic Coordinates
29.4. Place Types
29.4.1. Preference
29.4.2. Place Type Date Earliest Date Latest Date
29.5. Related Places
29.5.1. Place Relationship Type
29.5.2. Place Relationship Date Earliest Date Latest Date
29.6. Place Broader Context
29.6.1. Broader Context Date Earliest Date Latest Date
29.7. Place/Location Label/Identification
29.8. Place/Location Descriptive Note
29.8.1. Note Source Page
29.9. Remarks
29.10. Citations
29.10.1. Page
29.11. Place Authority Record ID

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CHIN Data Dictionary: Archaeological Sites

Spectrum: Location and Address

Visual Resource Association (VRA) Core 4.0 (Library of Congress)

Taxonomic Databases Working Group (TDWG) Introduction to Darwin Core

TDWG Darwin Core Quick Reference Guide: Location Terms

GADM Database of Global Administrative Areas


Place Authority Wireframes


Vocabulary Service


Hierarchical Authorities - BT NT Workflows


Place Authority Schema (see also: Place Authority Schema, UCB version)

User Story Summaries

Vocabulary User Story Summary

1 Comment

  1. SMK: Copied from Media Handling Schema: "Spatial topic and spatial applicability may be a named place or a location specified by its geographic coordinates. A jurisdiction may be a named administrative entity or a geographic place to which the resource applies. Recommended best practice is to use a controlled vocabulary such as the Thesaurus of Geographic Names. Where appropriate, named places can be used in preference to numeric identifiers such as sets of coordinates or date ranges."