Issue 193: P109 subp of P49

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 
Closing Date: 

Posted by Martin on 12/8/2011 

Should be 

E78 Collection.P109 has current or former curator.E39 Actor 

subproperty of: 

E18 Physical Thing.P49 has former or current keeper:E39 Actor ? 

What do the experts say?

Posted by Stephen Stead on 22/08/2011 

As the P49 description says has "custody of" and E78 collection talks about an E39 Actor having "assembled and maintained" it would be natural to assume that the E39 Actor would have had custody off the items that made up the E78 Collection but it is possible to have curatorial responsibility for a set of objects that you have never actually had in your control for instance landscapes, caves, archaeological sites or even conceivably large objects. I would therefore tend to the notion that normally one would use an instance of each property (P49 and P109) to describe the relationship between an instance of E78 Collection and the instance of E39 Actor that curates it,rather than always assuming that curation (P109) implies custody (P49).

Posted by Martin on 23/08/2011 

Well, we have said that "custody" may be physical or legal. May be we need a clearer concept of what "curation" means, in particular the relatively exotic concept of landscapes. I would feel better if curation would imply a form of custody... caring that things are there where they are supposed to be... On the other hand, "custody" explicitly refers to Physical Things, hence including landscapes. How do we define "custody" for such things? can we differentiate that from "curation" ? If not, we better bring the concepts closer together... 

May be also the concept of "custody" goes beyond "keeping". In Germany, the Latin term "custos" might quite well be used similar to "curator".

Do we know any experts of the concept, what do museologists say????

Posted by Vladimir on 24/08 

I'm not a museum expert, but (imho) the intended meaning of both concepts (custody and curation) may vary from one museum to another. Moreover, this meaning is matter of a museum bylaws (or specialization), and is not a "rigid". So, any restriction (including subrpoperty) may potentially cause a misunderstanding. Still awaiting for any feedback from museum experts... 

Posted by Christian Emil on 24/08/2011 

There may be language and juridical variations as well.
To confuse: Traditionally the term in Norwegian for a curator was konservator, now the term is gradually replaced by kurator as a loan word from English 

Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition with citations: 

5. The officer in charge of a museum, gallery of art, library, or the like; a keeper, custodian. In many cases the official title of the chief keeper. 

1667 Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 2 486 The Curator of the Royal Society. 

a1684 J. Evelyn Diary anno 1661 (1955) III. 292 Our Diving bell in which our Curator continued halfe an houre under water. 

1767 Hunter Diary LVIII. 42 The Curators of the British Museum. 

1837 J. G. Lockhart Mem. Life Scott vii, In June 1795 he was appointed one of the Curators of the Advocate's library. 

1889 Whitaker's Almanack 160 Museum of Practical Geology.Curator, Registrar and Librarian. 

So I think we can be quite sure that curation of an object implies having the object in custody. The oposite need not to be true.

Posted by Stephen Stead on 24/08/2011 

In the case of archaeological sites the idea that curation implies custody is not true. Which is why I do not agree with this issue. It may be true in many instances in which case invoke multiple properties but it is not true in all instances which is what the sub-property relationship says.

Posted by Christian Emil on 24/08/2011 

I am not competent to discuss the English language. The Norwegian translation of Custody, can only be applied to objects and persons.


The CRM-SIG decided that P109 is subproperty of P49 has former or current keeper. 

Amsterdam 17-11-2011