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Style Guide

Style Guide for Contributions

The contribution form allows members of the public to contribute information on antiquities repatriations to MOLA's dataset. If your contribution is published, you will be credited with the entry.

This style guide offers guidance on how data should be entered by contributors. All contributions are peer reviewed, and only those meeting our standards will be considered for publication. The more closely contributors follow these guidelines, the easier the peer review process will be.

Before you contribute an object or collection, please confirm the following:

General Guidelines

Controlled Vocabularies 

Certain fields (object type, country of origin) contain controlled vocabularies, which allow us to collect data consistently via a drop down menu. Many of these are based are based on the Getty's Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) hierarchy.

When selecting from a drop down for your submission, please choose the most appropriate field from the list, even if it is not a perfect match. If none of the fields apply, choose "Other" and we will consider adding an additional field. 

When entering information about a group of objects, you can select all applicable fields or select "Various."

Case Summary

This is a narrative summary of the object's ownership history, including what is known about its discovery, its path through the market, the key individuals and institutions involved, and the reasons for its return.

When referring to individuals, the first time they are mentioned please include their full name and a descriptor.

Provenance Summary

A chronological list of events in the object's ownership history.

If available, you can use the museum's structured provenance entry (noting any information that later proves untrue.)

If no structured provenance is available, please format as:

[Date 1]: brief sentence for event;

[Date 2]: brief sentence for event;

[Date 3]: brief sentence for event. 


All ancient dates are considered approximate, so no need to use abbreviations (approx., c. or circa). You may include a date range. Use BCE and CE to indicate common era.

For modern dates, use the more precise month/day/year as available.

For example:

400 BCE

1st Century CE

December 11, 2014

Auction Details

Include available details on the auction sale. For example: 

Location of the auction house branch: Christie’s, New York

Sale Title: "The Lahiri Collection: Indian and Himalayan Art, Ancient and Modern," Sale 12255

Date of auction(s): March 15, 2016

Lot number: 62

Estimated value: USD 200,000 - 300,000

Auction Realized Price

Include original price and currency and a USD value in brackets. 

GBP 240,000 (USD 311,981)

To calculate the currency conversion, please use Oanda.

Proper names

For institutions, please use the full proper name used at the time. For example: 

Law Enforcement:




Supporting Images and Documents

Please email any supporting images or documents to MOLA@achillesresearch.org noting the object name in the subject field. 


All data contributed should be cited to a reliable source. These may include primary sources (such as court records, museum records and dealer catalogs) or secondary sources (such as media reports, books or academic journals).

If the sources are available online, please provide a stable URL when possible (i.e. a link archived by Internet Archive)

If sources are not available online, please provide a full citation or upload the source document.

Citation and Attribution

All contributed work is expected to be the writing of the contributor, with proper quoting and credit to source material. 

Peer Review

All contributed work will be peer reviewed by a MOLA team member for original work and fulsomeness of the record. The peer review process is collaborative, and peer reviewers may be in touch for clarification; please leave an email where you may be reached. 

Style Guide prepared for MOLA by Katherine Davidson.