Categories for the Description of Works of Art (CDWA)

Published by J. Paul Getty Trust and College Art Association.

CDWA is a long-standing metadata standard from the museum community designed as a framework for the description of works of art and material culture. It is an extensive set of descriptive elements, including 532 categories and subcategories. Usage guidelines distinguish between data elements intended for display and those intended for indexing. CDWA defines only category labels and definitions - it does not define a specific syntax for encoding them, although the CDWA guidelines suggest a relational structure providing for easy re-use of authority records. CDWA is commonly implemented in museum management software. 



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