The ULAN is a structured vocabulary currently containing around 293,000 names and other information about artists. Names in ULAN may include given names, pseudonyms, variant spellings, names in multiple languages, and names that have changed over time. Although it is displayed as a list, ULAN is structured as a thesaurus. It contains hierarchical, equivalence, and associative relationships.
The focus of each ULAN record is an artist. Currently there are around 120,000 artists in the ULAN. In the database, each artist record (also called a subject in this manual) is identified by a unique numeric ID. Linked to each artist record are names, related artists, sources for the data, and notes. The temporal coverage of the ULAN ranges from Antiquity to the present and the scope is global.