Glossary beginning with D

The Glossary provides basic legal and technical definitions for the most common terms related to the fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods.


Database (of stolen objects)

A database of stolen objects is an organized collection of data and related good quality photographs or detailed description in case a photo is not available for relevant objects of a single country. It is created to operate large quantities of information by inputting, storing, retrieving, and managing that information and images. A database is set up so that one set of software programs provides all users with access to all the data,or only object related information to general public through online access as it is for existing databases of stolen objects as INTERPOL, Carabinieri TPC, etc.

Source: Carabinieri TPC Operational Office

Dealing / Dealer

Buying and selling items for personal or institutional gain. The dealers are the professional members of the trade in the import, export or transfer the ownership of cultural property.

Source: ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums / Glossary, UNESCO Database of National Cultural Heritage Laws


Documents or supporting references or records. Often, it is not enough to know that an object has been in a collection since long before current legislation, or that it was acquired through legal means, it has to be established via official legal documentation, such as those related to the owning, selling, and buying of antiquities.

Source: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language


An inter vivos gift, which may be gratuitous or onerous.

Source: Arthemis, Art-Law Centre, University of Geneva

Due diligence

All the required endeavours to establish the facts of a case before deciding a course of action, particularly in identifying the source and history of an item offered for acquisition or use before acquiring it. In other words, the due diligence implies all the necessary verifications regarding the legal provenance of a cultural object, i.e. its full history and ownership from the time of its discovery or creation to the present day, through which authenticity and ownership are determined.

In determining whether due diligence has been exercised, regard shall be had to all the circumstances of the acquisition, including the character of the parties, the price paid, whether the possessor consulted any reasonably accessible register of stolen cultural objects, and any other relevant information and documentation which it could reasonably have obtained, and whether the possessor consulted accessible agencies or took any other step that a reasonable person would have taken in the circumstances.

Source: ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums / UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects

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