In an effort to further improve online access, a thesaurus has been developed that provides a controlled vocabulary for use in searching across the Anthropology Division's collections. The goal of this thesaurus is to allow users to browse through a hierarchical structure to locate individual objects rather than having to perform a tradition search on individual keywords.
This thesaurus is based upon the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) produced by The Getty Research Institute and follows as closely as possible its theoretical model for the organization of concepts (categories). Where the AAT differs in its description of an object or concept found in the AMNH collection, the AMNH term (keyword) is inserted into the appropriate position in the existing AAT hierarchy. It was designed to demonstrate the capabilities of a thesaurus in searching across the AMNH anthropological collections and to generate feedback from researchers and the public. It currently contains around 1,000 categories and 10,000 terms (keywords) linked to these categories. The terms (keywords) are used to retrieve objects in the collections database.