VRA Core Categories is the Visual Resources Association's approach of categorizing visual documents that represent objects of art or
architecture . The VRA Core Categories provides a template designed but not limited to
visual works collections. As VRA Data Standard Committee pointed, "CDWA was exhaustive in its list of elements needed to describe museum objects,
it was not entirely satisfactory for the description of images, and in particular, did not cover all of the elements needed for the description of
architecture and other site-specific works", there is a need to expand the concept to non-art objects and visual document for which VRA was created.
Compared with and Benefit from CDWA, VRA Core categories is designed to cover most visual materials. It does not have such comprehensive categories as CDWA.
Similar to Dublin Core, It provides a core set of elements, which could be expanded by adding new elements as needed. It contains 17 categories that
can be used to describe both work and representations of the work, defined as images.
These categories are listed below:
- Record Type: identifies the record as being either a WORK record, for the physical or created object, or an IMAGE record, for the visual surrogates of such objects.
- Type: identifies the specific type of Work or Image being described in the record.
- Title: the title or identifying phrase given to a Work or an Image. For an Image record this category describes the specific view of the depicted Work.
- Measurements: the size, shape, scale, dimensions, format, or storage configuration of the Work or Image. Dimensions may include such measurements as volume,
weight, area or running time. The unit used in the measurement must be specified.
- Material: The substance of which a work or an image is composed.
- Technique: the production or manufacturing processes, techniques, and methods incorporated in the fabrication or alteration of the work or image.
- Creator: the names, appellations, or other identifiers assigned to an individual, group, corporate body, or other entity that has contributed to
the design, creation, production, manufacture, or alteration of the work or image
- Date: date or range of dates associated with the creation, design, production, presentation, performance, construction, or alteration, etc. of the work or image.
- Location: the geographic location and/or name of the repository, building, or site-specific work or other entity whose boundaries include the Work or Image.
- ID number: The unique identifiers assigned to a Work or an Image.
- Style/ Period: A defined style, historical period, group, school, dynasty, movement, etc. whose characteristics are represented in the Work or Image.
- Culture: the name of the culture, people, or adjectival form of a country name from which a Work or Image originates or with which the Work or Image has been associated.
- Subject: terms or phrases that describe, identify, or interpret the Work or Image and what it depicts or expresses. These may include proper names
(e.g., people or events), geographic designations (places), generic terms describing the material world, or topics (e.g., iconography, concepts, themes, or issues).
- Relation: terms or phrases describing the identity of the related work and the relationship between the Work being catalogued and the related work.
- Description: a free-text note about the Work or Image, including comments, description, or interpretation, that gives additional information not recorded in other categories.
- Source: a reference to the source of the information recorded about the work or the image. For a work record, this may be a citation to
the authority for the information provided. For an image, it can be used to provide information about the supplying Agency, Vendor or Individual; or in the case of
copy photography, a bibliographic citation or other description of the image source. In both cases, names, locations, and source identification numbers can be included.
- Rights: information about rights management; may include copyright and other intellectual property statements required for use.