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of L'viv Polytechnic National University

"Problems of Ukrainian Terminology"


Fetsko I. Publications dedicated to museum studies // Website of TC STTS: Herald of L'viv Polynechnic National University "Problems of Ukrainian Terminology". 2013. # 765.


The article are presented in the authors' edition

Ivanna Fetsko

L'viv Ivan Franko National University




Fetsko I., 2013


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The article indicates Ukrainian and Russian terminology publcations and their specificity in the field of museology. It distinguishes major concerning various issues of museum studies.

Keywords: Ukrainian language, Russian language, museum, museology, term, terminology, dictionary.


A language is one of factors that ascertain a countrys independence. It measures the nations intellectual development and spiritual life. All scientific and technological achievements are reflected in language [3: 3]. The system of terms synthesizes language, science and culture as well as represents a nation in front of the world community. Terminology is a languages aspect which is actively developing during the last decades. The so-called terminological explosion is observed in all languages, and it brings about a great amount of new terminological units.

The development of Ukrainian museum terminology and its harmonization with the international system of terms are significant for the full-fledged functioning of the state language in the social, academic and cultural life of the country as well as define its international level.

Each nation that gained independence, after being part of large empires for a long time, faces the problem of reformatting state-shaping processes and accentuates its authentic features. Along with the establishment of a national language, the standardization of branch term systems, like the system of museum terms, also plays an important role.

The significant trend of terminological research in Ukraine is the study of forming term systems of various branches of knowledge, including museology. This research is topical due to the increase of Ukrainian researchers interest in terminology of scholarship branches as well as to their searches for ways of solving burning problems of establishing new term systems in contemporary literary Ukrainian.

The development of museum terminology has been studied by some Ukrainian researchers, like R. Mykulchyk and P. Slobodian in Problems of compiling a dictionary of museum studies [2], A reference book of terms in museum studies [3], . Perelyhina in On using the term in museum literature [4].

The article sets the goal of a covering the general picture of developing the museum terminology in the 20th 21st cc., by analyzing major papers in the field of Museology published in Ukraine and Russia, giving their characterization in general.

The aim is to describe terminological dictionaries in museum studies of the 20th to early 21st centuries and identify their purposes, orientation, structural compositions and descriptions of the material collected.

No small part in the development of terminology in Museum Studies is played by encyclopedias, dictionaries, reference books and manuals together with glossaries of museum terms. O. and O. Babenkos (Ukraine) published, in this respect, a reference dictionary containing 600 definitions [5]. A complex work in Ukrainian museum terminology Natural Scientific Museum Terminology: A Reference Dictionary (in Ukrainian) compiled by O. Klymyshyn containing 2,500 terms saw the light of day in 2003. This, in fact, is the pioneering edition of its kind in Ukraine comprising the compilers vision of the terminological apparatus of Museology [6]. The book may be successfully used by students not only of Natural Sciences, but those of the Humanities as well. The dictionary includes some terms in the contiguous fields (Archival Studies, Librarianship, Art Criticism, Restoration and Prevention Work a.o.) necessary for attribution and description of museum objects, The terms and concepts definitions have been selected from the normative documents, teaching, teaching-methodological, scientific and reference literature in the domain of Museum Studies.

The usage sphere has not been marked for all the terms as some have a wide field of application. The dictionary contains both terms used by Ukrainian museum scholars and Ukrainian equivalents of those used by Western (European) schools in the field of Museology [2, p. 108].

The dictionary, however, is but of narrow specialization, viz. it deals with the terminology of Natural Sciences Museums. For this very reason, the dictionary does not cover many a term in other fields of Museology. There are quite a lot of special natural scientific terms, e.g. organisms classification, cleistogamy, tracheata etc. in it.

The year 2012 saw the publication of The Reference Dictionary of Museology Terms [in Ukrainian] by R. Mykulchyk and P. Slobodian [7], its key idea being the codification and normalization of terms. The Museum Studies terminology consists of purely museum (sensu stricto) terms, and those from related fields of human activity. These are Archival Studies, Excursions Organization, Restoration, Art Criticism, Monuments Protection, Special Historical Disciplines etc. While registering the terms of these fields in the dictionary, the compilers attempted at selecting exclusively those related directly to the museums activities. The dictionary includes Ukrainian and Ukrainian-borrowed foreign terms in Museology and contiguous fields of human activity together with their definitions [7, p. 9].

Some scholarly papers and study manuals comprise short glossaries. In particular, worthy of special mention here are two books among museology manuals, viz. those authored by geographers at Kyiv Natonal University (V. Babarytska, A. Korotkova, O. Malynovska) [8] and the Lviv Ivan Franko National University as well as the Lviv Institute of Economics and Tourism (M. Rutynskyi, O. Stetsiuk) [9]. The manual by the Lviv-based scientists includes a glossary (160 entries), black-and-white illustrations and supplements (legal papers on Museology and a reference book on the functioning of historical and cultural reserves in Ukraine).

On the basis of the course of lectures delivered at the Ukraine Open International University on Human Development (Kyiv) the philosophers V. V. Shevchenko and I. M. Lomachynska have published a manual on Museology with a glossary of terms (99 entries) adduced [10]. As the authors put it at the beginning of the book, the idea and the structure of it are analogous to the textbook by the Russian researcher, Professor (Museology) at the Russian Institute of Cultural Studies (Russian Academy of Sciences) and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation (Moscow) T.Yu.Yureneva Museum Studies (in Russian, Moscow, 2003, 4th ed., published in 2007). A small manual authored by lecturers at the Zhytomyr Ivan Franko University, containing a glossary of museum studies terms [11] is of use too. Close to this manual as to the subject-matter is the publication by the historian O.V/Potylchak (Kyiv National M.Drahomanov Teacher-Training University) [12], rather a method guide for students in the Essentials of Historical Museum Studies.

The monograph by the Lviv-based scholar I. Shydlovskyi History of Museology and Museums of Zoology in Ukraine [13] presents material gathered on the origins and the development of Museology in the world, provides terms and concepts used in practice, lists recommended literature, subject index and name register.

Rather a detailed analysis of Museum Studies terminology and that of Monumental Protection activity is to be found in the monograph by S. B. Rudenko [14], where the author has researched various interpretations of the museum monument term.

The independence years have witnessed a number of legal, organizational and administrative measures taken in the monumental protection field of Ukraine aimed at bettering the protection and restoration of the exhibits of cultural heritage, among which of great importance are the laws of Ukraine On Museums and Museology. On the Protection of the Archeological Heritage On the Protection of the Cultural Heritage etc., adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine [15, p. 132].

At the elaboration stage is the draft of The Ukrainian Museum Encyclopedia (UME, in Ukrainian) listing Museology terms. The compilers have named it a dictionary of terms, though, in fact, there are neither any translation, nor interpretation of the terms. The register is divided into five chapters, viz. survey articles, concepts and terms, types, kinds, profiles of the museums, museum exhibit, collection, monument, major trends of museum activity, organization of Museology and the protection of monuments. Entries relating to theoretical issues and the conceptual-terminological apparatus of Museology will be based on stabilized, approved in present-day research literature interpretations. On the other hand, they will throw light on contradictory items reflecting different views of this or that problem, and most recent approaches to their comprehension. A great number of articles on contiguous fields of scientific knowledge and special historical disciplines without which any thorough research is impossible will be offered to the readers attention. Thus, the UME is to be not only a generalization of an important factual and theoretical material, but a new stride in the scientific comprehension of major issues in Museum Studies [16, p. 8].

Studies papers in the field of Museum Studies can be found in Russia too. The first Russian dictionary of museum terms was published the Research and Development Institute of Culture (currently the Russian Institute of Culture Studies) in 1974 [17], its second extended edition appeared in 1983 [18] and in 1986 (in cooperation with the Central Museum of the Revolution) [19]. Later on the Institute continued its terminological work in large-scale projects, academic publications [19, 20], conferences and workshops.

The core of the dictionary consists of the basic concepts of museum studies: museum, museum studies, museum world, museum subject, museum object, the museums social functions. A large amount of these terms required profound revision and clarification: recently the research has collected a great deal of new findings, ideas, theories that influenced such usual and, seemingly, traditional terms.

Communicative and semiotic ideas, penetrating the museum sphere, have caused the usage of terms which are borrowed from neighbouring disciplines and which acquire new shades in museum studies (interpretation, discourse, sign etc.). As a result of the development of linguistic concepts, a number of linguistic terms became part of museum terminology, e.g. text and context.

Extremely topical for contemporary museum sphere are definitions connected with law and museum management. They show the general legal field for the existence of our museums today. Most of them are fixed in legal documents, and the dictionary makes the first attempt at defining them in the context of museum practices. The next stage of work will be the advancement of these terms to the level of research categories.

The dictionary also registers some foreign museum terms found in the foreign museum publications, the documents of the ICOM, in reports of international conferences which following the development of national museum practices can enter Russian museum discourse [21, p. 48].

The Russian Museum Encyclopaedia, which was published in 2001 [22], summarizes the tercentennial development of museum studies in Russia. This is the first attempt of the structured and systematic description of what contemporary Russian museologists have at their disposal. While compiling the encyclopaedia, terminology turned out to be one of the most complicated problems. Museum studies is a young discipline, its methodology and language are being shaped, and it borrows both methods and terms from neighbouring disciplines while modifying their content to its needs. The development of museum studies changes the content of a concept. The terminological confusion also happens when terms are used by museologists and by museum practitioners. Besides, the inconsistency between museum terms of Russia and of other countries complicates communication and translation.

The authors of the Russian Museum Encyclopaedia had to systematize the existing material as well as to elaborate new definitions. Understandably, the encyclopaedia cannot fully resolve terminological problems, but these are already its merits that they are identified, described, systematized, that each term is presented in the context of its historical development, that other variants and interpretations are carefully recorded, that the desirable variants are suggested according to the contemporary research. Thus, the terminological block of the entries turns this edition into a convenient contemporary dictionary, applied in museum research and practices. It also creates a base for further clarifying and unifying terms and for elaborating the own language of museum studies that is an important stage for establishing museum studies as an independent academic discipline [22, p. 8].

A Short Dictionary of Museum Terms by O. Halkina and T. Petunina [23] came out in 2004. It is structured by the alphabet principle. It contains main museum terms used in practice. This dictionary does not contain general terms, but only includes specific museum terms [3, p. 107].

In 2007, the French museum experts F. Mairesse and A. Desvallees, members of the board of the Museology Committee, prepared a collective monograph in French [24]. The English-language version of the book came out the next year. Museum experts and workers from 16 countries offered the new, contemporary interpretation of the phenomenon of museum in.

The year 2010 is marked with the publication of the dictionary Key Concepts of Museology, prepared by a group of authors, members of the board of the Committee of Museology. This edition is a complex, interdisciplinary research resulted from the international cooperation of museologists from various countries.

Key Concepts is a topical reference book: it provides 21 detailed definitions with the analysis of their evolution as well as with derivatives and correlates. The articles with these definitions have entered the vocabulary of the French-language Encyclopaedic dictionary which contains 500 more terms. Contrary to most dictionaries, the style of these entries are written in an highly emotional and deeply philosophical way. A lot of definitions are based on the contrast of an ideal museological model and the real status quo [25, p. 216].

Despite the fact that the Dictionary represents mainly the Francophone vision of museology through the prism of linguistic consistency, the systematized terminology is clear and popular with some different cultures. This edition, being non-exhaustive, generalizes the evolution of knowledge within decades, systematically showing the epistemology and etymology of the museum. It offers the profound explanations of basic concepts in todays museology due to a deep practical insight into multiple views, past and present statements. The aim of this small-sized book is to supply wide public with an access within the historical and contemporary context to the origin and evolution of terms which todays language is so rich in.

To sum up, Ukrainian Museum Studies, as well as Russian, have considerable achievements and fall back on a rich experience of their predecessors. The development of the theoretical thought and popularization of the scientific knowledge in Museum Studies will positively influence the shaping of Museology as science.


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