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Acknowledgements List of Wordlists

INSCRIPTION is a collection of 'wordlists' maintained or recommended by the Forum on Information Standards in Heritage (FISH). It provides tools for comprehensive and consistent indexing of different aspects of the built and buried heritage. It includes, for example, standards for how to record the age and nature of a site. This in turn will help to answer both specific questions such as 'What is this site?', 'How old is it?' and more general enquiries such as 'What do we know about Roman villas?' INSCRIPTION thus complements the definitions of individual facts or 'units of information' about a site, event or resource that are recommended by FISH in 'MIDAS - a manual and data standard for monument inventories'. See the FISH home page for further details of MIDAS.

Why is INSCRIPTION important?
A vast body of knowledge and understanding of the historic environment is held in a wide variety of 'inventories', maintained by national bodies of record, local authorities, museums, amenity groups, individual and university based researchers. Use of an agreed set of words to index these records will assist in providing access to this knowledge store, and also assist communication of data between these different inventories. It is the hope of FISH that the standards included in INSCRIPTION will become the starting point for the establishment of common terminology standards across the U.K. and Ireland.

How has INSCRIPTION developed?
INSCRIPTION has been developed from wordlists adopted by members of FISH for use in their inventories. FISH members are committed to making these wordlists available, and welcome comments on their content. In particular, suggestions of additional words ('candidate terms'), improvements to existing definitions, or details of wordlists not included at present in INSCRIPTION will help to develop the framework. An on-line form for submission of comments is provided as a link from each wordlist description, as are contact details for the owner of each list. An email discussion list is also maintained by FISH to encourage comment and debate (see below).

How should INSCRIPTION be used?
FISH recommend that wordlists from INSCRIPTION are built into inventory databases to improve standards. At the start of a new project, such as those funded by the National Lottery, this may simply be a matter of contacting the list owner to check any restrictions on use, and receiving a digital copy of the wordlist for use in the database. Where existing inventories wish to adopt an INSCRIPTION wordlist the list owner may well be able to help map indexing terms already in use to to those in the standard to facilitate access and data exchange opportunities. In brief, a database adopting an INSCRIPTION wordlist should be designed to prompt users of what terms are available, control the terms actually used, and allow the user to use the same terms to search the records for retrieval.

INSCRIPTION provides descriptions of wordlists to help INSCRIPTION users find the most relevant wordlist(s) for a particular inventory. In many cases the actual wordlists are provided online on this site. Alternatively, links to wordlists held elsewhere on the internet are provided, or contact details for the owner.

Four types of wordlist are included in INSCRIPTION. They differ in complexity, and the indexing and retrieval functions that they support:

The List of Wordlists page has all the wordlists that are included in the INSCRIPTION framework, and provides links to descriptions of each wordlist, and in many cases to the wordlist itself. Browse through the List of Lists to find the wordlist that you need.

FISH also has a mailing list, which discusses all matters relating to INSCRIPTION. Subscription to this list is open to all who have an interest in developing or adopting the INSCRIPTION framework wordlists.

Acknowledgements List of Wordlists

©2004 FISH maintained by maintained by The Collections Trust