[Crm-sig] Call for Comments

Maximilian Schich maximilian at schich.info
Mon Mar 21 22:13:04 EET 2011

Dear all,

While I think this initiative is long needed, I'd like to raise two 

First, I think the simple procedure should be explained in a equally 
simple way, in a single paragraph, and then include the whole 
explanation, without having to open a Word document. The first paragraph 
should contain the CEO/president's summary:

We propose that all cultural heritage objects should be assigned with 
Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) by their stakeholders [find better 
word], in the form of a base URL and a unique identifier (for e.g. 
http://www.britishmuseum.org/inv/ME91678). A base URL is... A unique 
identifier is...

* Yes it should say http://www.britishmuseum.org/inv/ME91678 not

Second, I disagree with the implications of point 10c in your Word 
document, as this inhibits the scientific process. Looking at reality, 
there often is no "best institution for preserving a particular objects 
identifier", and competition in coming up with the best identifiers is 
part of art research. Well known examples are Helbig's famous guide 
through the collections of Rome, or Artprice.com as a repository of 
auction events, with many "moving" objects, for which the museums or 
collections are too small, too heterogeneous, or too frequently 
changing, not to speak of many objects that are hard to define as such, 
or not even belong to a single entity.
In any case, by nature, there will be a long tailed frequency 
distribution of the number of URIs assigned to any number of objects, 
with reconciliation (i.e. stating "x is {the same as|part of} y") a key 
problem to solve. While I agree that the proposal may help to contain 
this problem, we should not define an artificial hierarchy of authority 
of who may issue the best identifier. If some museums or collections 
don't do, we should encourage the Helbigs and Artprices of the world to 
publish their URIs as a fallback. In other words: Coherent identifiers 
for a large numbers of objects created by a properly published Ph.D. 
thesis or a secondary institution such as Artprice are better than no 
identifiers at all, and as such should be encouraged.
The same is true for identifier reconciliation: It should also be 
encouraged; but I am pretty sure, this can not be done in a successful 
manner by excluding competition. On the contrary, competition might be 
the major force that will encourage scholars to produce better identifiers.
As a consequence, in my opinion, the president's summary should end in 
the following way:


Primary stakeholders, such as museums or owners of large collections, 
should be obliged to create URIs for their objects. For objects where 
this is not viable for a variety of reasons, or for museums where the 
creation of URIs simply does not happen or unclear, secondary entities, 
such as scholars, auction houses, online-encyclopedias, etc. are 
encouraged to provide alternative identifiers to which the community can 
refer to in a better way. Reconciliation of these identifiers should be 
a common goal of the community wherever reasonable.

Best regards,

Dr. Maximilian Schich

Am 21.03.11 12:02, schrieb martin:
> Dear All,
> Your comments on http://www.cidoc-crm.org/URIs_and_Linked_Open_Data.html
> will be most welcome!
> Best,
> Martin

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