[Crm-sig] Fwd: CIDOC CRM and CLAROS

Leif Isaksen leifuss at googlemail.com
Fri Nov 13 14:11:56 EET 2009

Hi all

A minor clarification is probably in order here as the quote below is taken
slightly out of context. I am very interested in the use and adoption of the
CIDOC CRM, but my research focus on contributors with limited resources has
meant the use of a different ontology. The full abstract for the TOPOI
workshop is below and my recent transfer thesis which goes into greater
detail about the reason for the decision can be found at



    Archaeology, Formality and the CIDOC CRM

Leif Isaksen,  Kirk Martinez & Graeme Earl

University of Southampton

The CIDOC CRM is the most sophisticated, best documented and well-known
ontology in the Cultural Heritage domain. So much so, that it is frequently
referred to as a ‘miracle cure’ and ‘the only show in town’. Yet despite
this perception, the rate of its adoption – like that of the Semantic Web
with which it is frequently associated – has been glacial at best and almost
exclusively by large, well-funded projects. What is hindering uptake and are
there important lessons to be learned from it?

In their 1999 paper ‘Formality Considered Harmful’, Shipman and Marshall
identify four barriers to user interaction with formal knowledge systems:
(1) The cognitive overhead required to understand the formalism, (2) The
need to elicit tacit knowledge, (3) enforcing premature structure on
unstructured or poorly-understood source material, (4) the problems caused
by situational structure, i.e. the different needs of different users. While
they note that there is no ‘silver bullet’ that addresses all of these
challenges they do propose several palliatives that can assist, and
therefore encourage, the transition from free to structured information
where beneficial.

This paper will discuss these principals in reference to current doctoral
research being undertaken in archaeological data integration. While the work
in question has elected to use ontologies other than the CIDOC CRM, the
results derived are also likely to be of interest to the CRM community. In
particular it focuses on means by which *microproviders* – owners of the
small but important datasets that form the ‘long tail’ of excavation data –
can participate in semantics-driven datasharing.

   1. Frank M. Shipman and Catherine C. Marshall, “Formality Considered
   Harmful: Experiences, Emerging Themes, and Directions on the Use of Formal
   Representations in Interactive Systems,” *Computer-Supported Cooperative
   Work* 8, no. 4 (1999): 333-352.

Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 16:17:23 +0200
From: martin <martin at ics.forth.gr>
Subject: [Crm-sig] [Fwd: CIDOC CRM and CLAROS]
To: crm-sig <crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
Message-ID: <4AFC18F3.2090805 at ics.forth.gr
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed

Dear All,

This may find your interest:

David Shotton wrote:
 >.... I am sending you a link to a /draft
> /of the presentation that Graham Klyne, who did all the CIDOC CRM work
> on CLAROS, will give at the forthcoming private workshop on CIDOC CRM
> organized by the German TOPOI research project in Berlin at the end of
> this month:
> http://imageweb.zoo.ox.ac.uk/pub/2009/drafts/Draft-CIDOC-CRM-Berlin.pdf
> It perhaps goes into more detail than you require at this stage, but
> makes several points of relevance.
> Suffice it to say that data integration of the sort you are
> contemplating needs solutions to three distinct problems:
>    1. Syntactic differences between data sources, since data are stored
>       in incompatible formats within different DBMSs.  This is solved by
>       converting all data to RDF.
>    2. Semantic differences between data sources (One person?s ?author?
>       is another person?s ?creator?).  This can be solved by mapping to
>       a common data schema or ontology.
>    3. The co-reference problem, namely that the same entity ? for
>       example a particular painter ? is known by different names in
>       different databases (e.g. "Rembrandt", "Rembrandt Harmenszoon van
>       Rijn", or "Rembrandt van Rijn").  Perhaps the hardest  problem,
>       this has to be solved by creating a co-reference service to
>       disambiguate synonyms.
> Had it not been for CIDOC CRM, CLAROS data integration could not have
> been achieved in the brief time that Graham was funded to work on it.
> Using CIDOC CRM, that initial data modelling period lasted about two
> months, after which the decision was made to implement it and add
> further refinements incrementally as required.  Starting from scratch
> without CIDOC CRM, it is hard to say how long that process would have
> taken, but certainly considerably longer, and resulting in an artefact
> lacking the extensibility and rigorous logical foundation that CIDOC CRM
> has as a result of 20 years of careful development by Martin Doerr and
> his colleagues.
> There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that CIDOC CRM is the only game
> in town when it comes to good data modelling for cultural heritage
> data.  Other people in the UK who are using it, and who you may wish to
> consult, are:
>     Keith May, English Heritage, Centre for Archaeology, Portsmouth, and
>     Douglas Tudhope and Ceri Binding, Hypermedia Research Unit,
>     University of Glamorgan
>     (http://hypermedia.research.glam.ac.uk/kos/CRM/ and
>     http://hypermedia.research.glam.ac.uk/kos/STAR),
> and
>     Leif Isaksen, School of Electronics and Computer Science, University
>     of Southampton, who organised this meeting:
>     http://www.interface09.org.uk/, and who writes in his abstract for
>     the TOPOI meeting that  Graham kindly lent me:
>         The CIDOC CRM is the most sophisticated, best documents and
>         well-known ontology in the Cultural Heritage domain.  So much
>         so, that it is frequently referred to as a 'miracle cure' and
>         'the only show in town'.
>   I do not know these groups, but they are presenting at the
> same TOPOI workshop.
 > See also my SEMUSE presentation on CLAROS:
> I hope this helps,
> David

> Dr David Shotton
>  david.shotton at zoo.ox.ac.uk <mailto:mailto:david.shotton at zoo.ox.ac.uk>
> Reader in Image Bioinformatics
> Image Bioinformatics Research Group
> http://ibrg.zoo.ox.ac.uk
> Department of Zoology, University of Oxford                  tel:
> +44-(0)1865-271193
> South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK                    fax:
> +44-(0)1865-310447


 Dr. Martin Doerr              |  Vox:+30(2810)391625        |
 Principle Researcher          |  Fax:+30(2810)391638        |
                               |  Email: martin at ics.forth.gr |
               Center for Cultural Informatics               |
               Information Systems Laboratory                |
                Institute of Computer Science                |
   Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)   |
 Vassilika Vouton,P.O.Box1385,GR71110 Heraklion,Crete,Greece |
         Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl               |
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