[crm-sig] reification

Christian-Emil Ore c.e.s.ore at muspro.uio.no
Thu May 2 04:07:20 EEST 2002

Dear all
My question might become a frequently asked question. I have read my notes 
and the email correspondence and find little about reifications. As far as 
I can see from (not far enough?), the suggestion is to express reification 
(a word I don't find in any dictionary) as in RDF and that it should not be 
a part of CRM as such.

We (that is, the Norwegian Musuem Project) try to make our database models 
conformant with CRM (let us call this a CRM database). Our databases 
contain information about the artefacts and objects seen as museum objects 
(houskeeping) and classification information about the same objects. (not 
unusual of course).

1)  A classification can be expressed by a type assignment (E17) giving a 
physical object  a type or several types, that is, a value(s) taken from 
thesaura or classification lists. The when-, who-, where-, 'on basis on 
which documents'- facts with respect to the classification event can also 
easily be expressed in the CRM way. This is the traditional artefact or 
inventory database solution.

2) On the other hand the CRM invites to create and populate models of the 
past as well as the more prosaic present described above in 1. An artefact 
will typically be represented as an instance of  physical object (E22). The 
artefact is the result of a production event expressed by a property 
connecting the physical object to an instance of (E12, production) and so 
on. The when-, who-, where-, why- fact with respect to the (assumed) events 
connected  to an artefact or museum object in the past can also easily be 
expressed in the CRM way.  However, the information pieces populating such 
a model are the result of an archaeologist's or a scolar's work. The may 
have  been extracted from a written source or entered directly into the 
information system by the archaeologist from his or her head during the 
classification event described in 1.

If we combine the two databases in 1 and 2 into a single CRM database. Is 
there any way to connect the information pieces (that is, instances of 
events and properties)  in 2 to (the instance of) the classification event 
in 1 in the CRM as such (Am I blind?) or is this outside the scope of CRM? 
It is important for me to find a solution. I remember that this was touched 
upon in a discussion in Paris.

A concrete example from our material: Assume that another archaeologist 
come to a completely different solution in 2, then we need to identify who 
said what and when why etc. A classical example in Norway is connected to a 
big box of pieces of flint collected on a mountain in western Norway (Flint 
does not occur naturally in Norway and is usually collected when neolithic 
sites are excavated). The archeologist leading the excavation classified 
the flint piece collection to be the result of the production of a long 
series of axes and wrote papers based on this assumption. In the 1990 an 
eager soul tried to do some refitting and come to the very convincing 
conclustion that the pieces stem from one single axe.
  A solution to this problem seems also to be adequate for the ARCHON 
system ddescribed in a talk given by a colleque of Martin at CAA2002 in Crete.

Best wishes

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