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Work Record Overview

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A work record serves as the controlled record where details about a work are cataloged and shared across a collection, across projects, and across an institution.

A Work¹ can be described as:

  • an artistic event (performance, recording)
  • an object of art (painting, sculpture, drawings, textiles, etc.)
  • cultural artifact
  • architecture or built work
  • an architectural site or archaeological site

Visual Resources Association 2007

Benefits of Using Works

  • Use a work to populate fields for items in a controlled, standardized manner.
  • Use a work to avoid duplicate steps when your project contains several examples of the same work, often times in different formats, views, etc.
  • Use a work to create rich data relationships for your items when they are related to works that are related to other works.

About Linking Works to your Items – Works to Item Relationships

The work to item relationship establishes the connection between the greater concept (parent) and its representations (child). For example, the work for the Sistine Chapel would contain specific data about the Sistine Chapel. Those representations of the Sistine Chapel would occur as items. Each item representing the Sistine Chapel can be related to the Sistine Chapel work in your project. An item may be linked to a single work. For some items, the record and media represent the work in its entirety, while for others, the record and media represent a portion or specific view of the work.

Examples of Work to Item relationships

Architectural Works:

Houses of Parliament (Work) Exterior view, facing west (Item)

Houses of Parliament (Work) Exterior view, facing southwest (Item)


The Garden of Earthly Delights (Work), detail of left panel; birds swarming hut (Item)

About Work to Work Relationships

The work to work relationship establishes a connection between related objects. This associative relationship between works can be established in Forum by relating similar works and further described by adding a type to qualify the relationship. For example, the work of the Sistine Chapel frescoes can be related both to the architectural work of the Sistine Chapel as well as to the work of St. Peter’s Basilica. One work can be related to several other works.

Work to Work Relationship Type examples2

  • Formerly part of
  • Mate of
  • Model for
  • Derived from
  • Exhibited at
  • Part of
  • Composite for

Visual Resources Association 2007