The Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) is a structured vocabulary that can be used to improve access to information about art, architecture, and material culture.

The target audience for the Getty vocabularies includes museums, libraries, visual resource collections, archives, conservation projects, cataloging projects, and bibliographic projects. The AAT may be used:

  • as data value standards at the point of documentation or cataloging.
  • as search assistants in database retrieval systems. They are knowledge bases that include semantic networks that show links and paths between concepts; these relationships can make retrieval more successful.
  • as research tools.

The AAT has been released by the Getty as Linked Open Data (LOD) under the Open Data Commons Attribution Licence (ODC-By) 1.0.


The AAT is a compiled resource; it is not comprehensive. It grows through contributions with recent large contributions including:

  • Spanish from Centro de Documentación de Bienes Patrimoniales, Chile;
  • Dutch from the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie;
  • A Chinese translation is underway by the National Digital Archives Program, Taiwan;
  • German translation is being undertaken by the Institut für Museumsforschung in Berlin.
  • Around 3,000 Italian object type terms were contributed by ICCD, Rome,
  • 3,000 French terms were contributed by CHIN.
  • Possible full translations in French and Portuguese are under discussion.


ARIADNE partners who deposit datasets are asked to complete mappings from subject keywords in their native records to subject concepts in the AAT.  These mappings are then used to support retrieval within the ARIADNE portal.

Click here to see the partners’ mappings to AAT.