[crm-sig] Draft CIDOC CRM Homepage text

Tony Gill Tony_Gill at notes.rlg.org
Sat Jun 22 06:23:50 EEST 2002


Here's a first draft of some text for the CIDOC CRM homepage. It attempts 
to capture all of the salient points about the CRM as briefly as possible. 
Here's the "conceptual" layout:

- Very brief one paragraph description
- A paragraph elaborating the CRM's scope (p.s. Nick - ICOM statutes 
appear to have been revised)
- Brief guide to potential applications (4 bullet points cribbed off 
Nick's draft doc)
- Paragraph with techie details about the CRM
- Paragraph with details of history, maintenenance, ownership, ISO 

Comments, revisions, counter-proposals all welcome.


The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC CRM) is a knowledge 
representation framework for cultural heritage information. It represents 
the concepts and relationships that museums use to document their 
collections as a formally-defined "domain ontology."

The scope of CIDOC CRM is very broad; documentation about the material 
evidence of people and their environment, at a sufficient level of depth 
and quality to enable serious academic research. This includes information 
about museum collections of all kinds, and much of the documentation about 
library and archive collections.

There are a number of potential applications for the CIDOC CRM:

* An aid to mutual comprehension
By providing a rich and detailed formal analysis of the cultural heritage 
domain, the CRM can be used as a semantic reference tool to establish a 
common understanding between people in different disciplines and domains, 
and facilitate unambiguous dialogue between cultural heritage experts and 
technical specialists.

* A tool for reliable data exchange
The CRM can serve as a technical reference for use in comparing, 
evaluating and mapping between heterogeneous cultural data schema and 

* A reference for cultural information systems design
The CRM can be used as a reference when creating technical specifications 
for the design of new information systems in the cultural heritage domain. 
Although it is not intended as a data storage or delivery format, it can 
help developers create well-designed systems that avoid some of the common 
pitfalls caused by under-estimating the complexity of information in the 
cultural heritage domain.

* Mediation systems
The CRM could form the basis for integrated query tools and mediation 
systems. Many features of the CRM have been specifically designed with 
mediation in mind, allowing data to be combined from relatively rich and 
less detailed sources in a meaningful way and without loss of detail.

The CIDOC CRM is expressed as an object-oriented model, which provides 
exceptional expressive power in an elegant and extensible framework that 
is particularly well-suited to the cultural heritage domain. Version 3.3.1 
consists of 80 classes, and 123 property links between those classes. It 
is particularly well-suited to expression as an RDF (Resource Description 
Framework) Schema, and is highly applicable for museum applications of the 
W3C's Semantic Web.

The CIDOC CRM was first published in 1998 by the International Committee 
for Documentation (CIDOC) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). 
It is maintained by the CIDOC CRM Special Interest Group on behalf of the 
CIDOC Documentation Standards Working Group. It represents over a decade 
of standards work by museum documentation professionals and data modeling 
experts, and is currently under submission to the International Standards 
Organization for review and publication as an ISO standard.



Tony Gill <tony.gill at notes.rlg.org>, RLG <http://www.rlg.org/>
1200 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041 USA
Voice: +1 (650) 691-2304 <> Fax: +1 (650) 964-1461

More information about the Crm-sig mailing list