[Crm-sig] Issue 496

Martin Doerr martin at ics.forth.gr
Tue Oct 5 19:24:22 EEST 2021

Dear All,

Issue 496 ended with homework by me, Par Riva and Thanasis Velios, abut 
the functionality of a minimal CRM vocabulary:

Here is our proposal:

*The Functional role of a Minimal Vocabulary
*...to be used together with the CIDOC-CRM*
The policy of the CRM is to restrict classes to those that appear as 
specific domains or ranges of CRM properties, because those properties 
structure the knowledge base and frequently appear hard-coded in the 
control-software, i.e., data entry, storage and access tools. Therefore 
they are of much higher priority for system interoperability than the 
classes without properties, which we model as instances of E55 Type, 
i.e. as data, as usual in conceptual modelling of databases since their 

Nevertheless, in certain cases the CRM makes important and non-obvious 
ontological distinctions of specialization of CRM classes without 
assigning specific properties to them. These may differentiate and 
specialize even substance and identity criteria in a way that has a 
bearing on the use of properties, as in the case of E10 Transfer of 
Custody[AV2] : The kind of transfer of custody, i.e., either field 
collection, transfer from one keeper to another or loss, can be 
specified by E55 Type, and consequently the property associating the 
donor or the receiver will not be used.

These distinctions normally appear in the scope notes with a hint about 
the need for respective vocabularies. They further appear in examples. 
Finally, a series of classes have been deprecated because they did not 
need specific properties, but backwards compatibility would require that 
they be turned  into clearly recommended instances of E55 Type.

Over the past 30 years attempts to harmonize and integrate vocabularies 
in the cultural heritage (CH) domain have widely failed. Rather, some 
vocabularies play a more important role, but specialized needs are too 
abundant to allow for a systematic integration, and volatile 
vocabularies are an important tool of research in all sciences and 

Therefore, the CRM-SIG will recommend  in a document separate from the 
CIDOC CRM definition only those terms that are regarded to be important 
for the above mentioned ontological distinctions, and unambiguous enough 
to be fixed as standard. These may be linked or integrated as broader or 
narrower terms into vocabularies of the user’s choice, in a way 
compatible with the meaning of the classes of the CRM where they will be 
used together.

The CRM-SIG may exemplify this on the base of the Art & Architecture 
Thesaurus (AAT) or the Backbone Thesaurus (BBT).

Further, CRM will recommend the use of some standard vocabularies for 
cases in which a good and comprehensive international practice exists, 
such as measurement units, country codes etc.


  Dr. Martin Doerr
  Honorary Head of the
  Center for Cultural Informatics
  Information Systems Laboratory
  Institute of Computer Science
  Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
  N.Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton,
  GR70013 Heraklion,Crete,Greece
  Email: martin at ics.forth.gr
  Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl

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