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March 10, 2010


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I have to say, coming at it from a librarian's point of view, I've long been fascinated by the lack of a good, authorized fashion/costume vocabulary. I think it makes it very difficult to not only conduct historical and other forms of research, but it also bleeds over into manufacturing and marketing (ever try looking for a certain type or style of dress from an online store? You're lucky if you can narrow by length, much less by style or silhouette).

Terminology changes are inevitable, but don't have to be such an issue if a vocabulary could be standardized and automated.

FIDM Museum

I agree that there isn't a easy-to-use and standarized lexicon for this field. I often use Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion, but I know others who don't like this book. Museums make an effort to standarize within their individual institutions, but this type of work doesn't cross institutional lines very often.

Who would make this type of decision for the field? Who makes it for libraries? Would it really help, or would there be so many disagreements over terminology that it would become too contested to be useful?

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