[Crm-sig] New Issue: Re-label E22, E25, E71 to remove "Man-"

Robert Sanderson RSanderson at getty.edu
Fri Apr 12 18:58:03 EEST 2019

Hi Franco, Christian, and Pierre,

I agree that this is a modern and solely political issue limited to the English language. English does not have the stability of (said as a native speaker) better languages, nor the Academies that try to keep social pressures from mutating it ad nauseum.

That said, those are the properties of the evolution of the language, and in the current stage of that evolution, it is less and less socially acceptable to use gendered terms when non-gendered would suffice. I expect we can all think of other words in our respective mother tongues that started out completely innocuous and have changed meaning to where the usage has been significantly different.

I agree that there is a technical cost but one that seems less extensive than, for example, deprecating a class or property completely, which happens more often. The trade-off of readability of the terms in RDF compared to the non-linguistic numbers, and the choice of English as a common technical language for that readability, makes this cost unavoidable at times.

For what it’s worth, we also considered “Artificial” but the second sense (insincere or affected) was cause enough to not propose it.


From: Crm-sig <crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr> on behalf of Franco Niccolucci <franco.niccolucci at gmail.com>
Date: Friday, April 12, 2019 at 8:05 AM
To: Christian-Emil Smith Ore <c.e.s.ore at iln.uio.no>
Cc: "crm-sig at ics.forth.gr" <crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
Subject: Re: [Crm-sig] New Issue: Re-label E22, E25, E71 to remove "Man-"

I (almost) fully agree with Christian-Emil.

But just “Made” could be a misleading label as per se it would include also the result of a deliberate action by my cat: Made Feature = “scratch made on this precious painting by Agatha (the cat) while sharpening her nails”. Instead the scope note indicates it must be the result of human action.

As regards the sexist use of “man":

In Latin “homo” designates any human, the male homo being “vir” versus “mulier”, the female homo: see e.g. “homo sapiens Linn.” and the like.
This use has remained in Latin languages, even if the word “vir” as substantive was sometimes lost: the word derived from homo in modern languages may indicate a human being, regardless of gender, as well as a male of this species: the generic use is a remnant of Latin, not a sexist attribution.
This is the current use in Italian.
I am not sure about Romanian; for French, there is the famous Musée de l’Homme in Paris, which I suspect hosts artefacts concerning both genders. A possible prevalence of Male-Made ones, for the well-known historic reasons, is not why it is called it the “Man Museum".
The Royal Spanish Academy defines “hombre” as "Ser animado racional, varón o mujer” i.e. “Living rational entity, man (varón) or woman (mujer)”. This language kept the Latin distinction even if in the Tex-Mex language “hombre” is usually referred to males only. Interesting to notice that varón does not derive from vir and was originally a derogatory term, this time attributed to males.

In conclusion, this is a matter concerning some Anglo-Saxon allergy caused by the semantic poverty of the language. I would let them go their way and choose whatever they like best, man or human; in the meantime, continue translating it with the gender-neutral term we use in our richer languages.

A label is just a label, so check the implementation cost of the change beforehand: standards are international, not English, so if a bias is perceived by English speakers it is their problem, not mine. Thus out of courtesy I may try to avoid any inconvenience, but I would object paying for the necessary adjustments. On this regard, look at this: https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-04-08.


PS I did not know the American English use of “Made man” as a Mafia member; here we use the term “initiate” for a person inducted into the Mafia.

Prof. Franco Niccolucci
Director, VAST-LAB
PIN - U. of Florence
Scientific Coordinator

ACM Journal of Computing and Cultural Heritage (JOCCH)

Piazza Ciardi 25
59100 Prato, Italy

Il giorno 12 apr 2019, alle ore 15:14, Christian-Emil Smith Ore <c.e.s.ore at iln.uio.no<mailto:c.e.s.ore at iln.uio.no>> ha scritto:
​Aas Øyvind points out, the debate is the result of a deficite of The English language. In Swedish for example, the word for 'human' has femine gender.
I have no problem with man-made -> made as long as 'made' is not too wide and include object not made by humans. I checked OED adn it seems ok. But, please check this with somebody with somebody with the right Englsih  language expertice. It is not allways so that the natives know their language in this respect.
made, adj.
View as: Outline |Full entryKeywords: On |OffQuotations: Show all |Hide all
Pronunciation:  Brit. /meɪd/,  U.S. /meɪd/
Forms:  see make v.1
Frequency (in current use):
Origin: Formed within English, by conversion. Etymons: English made  , make v.1
Etymology: < made, past participle of make v.1
  I. Produced or obtained by making as distinguished in some way from other modes of origin or acquisition.
Thesaurus »
Categories »

†1. Of a story: invented, fictitious. Of a word: invented, coined. Of an errand: invented for a pretext; made-up. Obsolete.
a1387—1843(Show quotations)

Thesaurus »
Categories »

  a. Chiefly Scottish in early use. That has undergone a process of manufacture. Formerly also (occasionally): †prepared for use (cf. senses of make v.1) (obsolete).
1428—1966(Show quotations)

  b. spec. Of land, earth, etc.: resulting from human activity; constructed; reclaimed. Later also applied to roads, watercourses, etc. Occasionally also, of ground: composed (in part) of recently accumulated material (see quot. 1871).
1597—1981(Show quotations)

Thesaurus »
Categories »

  a. Chiefly Cookery. Concocted from ingredients or constituents; esp. in   made dish n. a dish composed of several ingredients.
   made gravy n. a gravy artificially compounded, as opposed to one consisting only of the juices obtained during cooking.
1559—1995(Show quotations)

Thesaurus »
Categories »

  b. Of an alcoholic beverage, usually wine: home-made or locally made, in contradistinction to those obtained from a distance. Chiefly in made wine. In the United Kingdom sometimes spec. (see quot. 1889).
1747—1980(Show quotations)

Categories »

†c. Banking. Of a bill: drawn in one country and payable or negotiated in another (see quots.). Obsolete.
1868—1868(Show quotations)

Thesaurus »

  4. gen. Artificial; brought about by contrivance, arranged; that has not come about or developed naturally.
1580—1987(Show quotations)

  II. Of which the making has taken place.
  5. Of a hawk, horse, hound, etc.: fully trained.
1474—1987(Show quotations)

  a. Of a person: having his or her success in life (happiness, etc.) assured. Chiefly in a made man.
a1516—1992(Show quotations)
  b. slang (orig. U.S.). Esp. in made man: designating a person who has been formally inducted as a full member of the Mafia.
1973—1992(Show quotations)
man-made, adj. and n.
View as: Outline |Full entryKeywords: On |OffQuotations: Show all |Hide all
Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˌmanˈmeɪd/,  U.S. /ˈˌmænˈˌmeɪd/
Forms:  16– man-made, 19– man made, 19– manmade.
Frequency (in current use):
Origin: Formed within English, by compounding. Etymons: man n.1, made adj.
Etymology: < man n.1 + made adj.... (Show More)
  A. adj.
Categories »

  a. Made or caused by human beings (as opposed to occurring or being made naturally); arising from human activity; artificial. Also figurative. rare before 19th cent.
1615—1994(Show quotations)

Thesaurus »
Categories »

  b. spec. Of a fibre: manufactured from regenerated or synthetic polymer. Of a fabric: made or consisting of such fibre.
1950—1990(Show quotations)

Thesaurus »

†2. Of a church minister: appointed by humans as opposed to God. Obsolete.
In quot. a1742   as men-made.
a1718—a1742(Show quotations)

  B. n.
Thesaurus »
Categories »

   A man-made fibre or fabric.
1968—1985(Show quotations)

From: Crm-sig <crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr<mailto:crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr>> on behalf of Øyvind Eide <lister at oeide.no<mailto:lister at oeide.no>>
Sent: 12 April 2019 14:30
To: George Bruseker
Cc: crm-sig at ics.forth.gr<mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
Subject: Re: [Crm-sig] New Issue: Re-label E22, E25, E71 to remove "Man-"

Dear all,
I support the change and would also like to point out that this is a local problem with the English language. For instance, in most other Germanic languages the distinction is clear, such as in German: Mann / Mensch or in Scandinavian where we have various versions of mann / menneske.
As for the specific label to be chosen, I leave that for the native English speakers.
All the best,
Am 12.04.2019 um 13:45 schrieb George Bruseker <bruseker at ics.forth.gr<mailto:bruseker at ics.forth.gr>>:
Dear all,
I think there is a distinction to be made in the question of whether the language is in fact biased and whether it is perceived as biased. While I would agree with Pierre that there are arguments to be made that it is not in fact exclusive language in principle (and valid counterarguments to be sure), it is in fact taken by many as being biased and exclusive. This in itself makes it exclusive and this is unnecessary and unwanted.
Since a label in the ontology is just a label, and our intention with the label in this case is to give a heuristic to the ontology user in order to point towards non-naturally generated objects (man made object as we have said to now), I think that dropping 'man' from 'man made', does not impede this functionality.
Removing this part of the label, however, can remove an unintended impression of gender bias. This seems to be a functional gain that is compatible with the spirit of CIDOC CRM (view neutral by nature).
Between 'made' and 'human made', I would lean to the latter. 'Made Object' is already at the limit of understandability in English (it also has some unintended connotations of Mafia language). I think maybe 'human made', while sounding awkward in present day English, may be the direction that everyday language will go anyhow. 'Humankind' sounds very natural and more inclusive than 'mankind' certainly. The adjectival form will also follow.
Another concern is how problematic would the translation be. Checking the translations I could find, I did not find a major problem, but it is something to take into consideration.
A serious technical and cost concern for users of CRM would be that existing data encoded with the old URIs will now be incompatible with this new label. That is a significant trade off.
Finally, there is another class (E24) that includes man made. Added below.
E22 Ανθρωπογενές Αντικείμενο
E24 Ανθρωπογενές Υλικό Πράγμα
E25 Ανθρωπογενές Μόρφωμα
E71 Ανθρωπογενές Δημιούργημα
E22-人造物件 (Man-Made Object)
E24-人造实体物 (Physical Man-Made Thing)
E25-人造外貌表征 (Man-Made Feature)
E71-人造物 (Man-Made Thing)
E71 Künstliches
E22 Künstlicher Gegenstand
E24 Hergestelltes
E25 Hergestelltes Merkmal
I, in any case, think it is probably worth making the change -unless the costs to users in real terms is exorbitant - since the existing label can be perceived to be biased and this is wholly unintended by the community which aims to be both neutral and inclusive.
On 2019-04-12 14:23, Dominic Oldman wrote:
I strongly agree with Florian.
It is simply right to make these changes.
FROM: Crm-sig <crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr<mailto:crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr>> on behalf of Florian
Kräutli <fkraeutli at mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de<mailto:fkraeutli at mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de>>
SENT: 12 April 2019 11:35
TO: Pierre Choffé; Athanasios Velios; crm-sig at ics.forth.gr<mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
SUBJECT: Re: [Crm-sig] New Issue: Re-label E22, E25, E71 to remove
Dear Pierre and all,
I strongly disagree. This is not about the origins of the word but of
its usage and meaning in present day. The CRM should reflect
(changing) knowledge contexts and we as a community should react to
and respect developments in the world, and not decide based on our
personal opinions about them.
I think this should be put up as an issue and I would vote in favour
of either suggestion: dropping ‘man’ or replacing it with
On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 12:13 PM +0200, "Pierre Choffé"
<choffepierre at gmail.com<mailto:choffepierre at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear all,
This subject is typical of the politically correct attitude of our
times and most people (including me) generally avoid getting
involved in such discussions - especially on social media where you
would immediately get drowned in a flood of insults - and the result
is that we have a feeling of consensus on the matter.
Now, we as a community might have a different point of view,
starting with the knowledge we have of the origin of the word "man"
(please consult the wikipedia page [2] for a brief introduction).
Can we please avoid this kind of discussions and leave it to Twitter
and Facebook ?
Et pax in Terra hominibus bonae volontatis... (any woman feeling
excluded here ?)
Have a nice day,
On Fri, Apr 12th, 2019 at 11:2 AM, Athanasios Velios
<a.velios at arts.ac.uk<mailto:a.velios at arts.ac.uk>> wrote:
I support the change of the English labels to:
E22 Made Object
E25 Made Feature
E71 Made Thing
And I think this can be proposed as an issue to be voted through
the SIG
All the best,
On 12/04/2019 05:38, Robert Sanderson wrote:
Dear all,
On behalf of the Linked Art consortium, I would like to propose
that the
labels for E22 Man-Made Object, E25 Man-Made Feature and E71
Thing be changed to drop the unnecessarily gendered “Man-“.
In this day
and age, I think we should recognize that inclusion and
diversity are
core features of community acceptance, and that including
language is alienating.
Thus the proposal is: E22’s label should be changed to Made
Object, E25
changed to Made Feature and E71 changed to Made Thing.
The “human” nature of the agent that does the making is
explicit in the
ontology, in that only humans or groups there-of can be Actors
and carry
out Productions or Creations, so there is no ambiguity about
making these.
This issue was discussed at length, and has been open in our
tracker for 12 months now. We would greatly prefer that it be
solved by
changing the labels in the documentation, and thereby in the
rather than other RDF specific approaches such as minting new
terms and
using owl:sameAs to assert equality, or rebranding only in the
serialization but persisting in other serializations. The change
consistent, reduces the length of the class names, and is an
substitution. The comprehensibility of the label is still the
Given the renaming of Collection to Curated Holding, migration
existing data has the same solution - just substitute the
As a second choice, if the above is not acceptable, we propose
instead replace “Man-“ with “Human-“ … only two
additional characters,
but a bit more of a mouthful.
Many thanks for your engagement with this issue!
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