The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Module: An Ontological Approach to Semantic Interoperability of Metadata

Martin Doerr

Abstract


This article presents the methodology that has been successfully used over the past seven years by an interdisciplinary team to create the International Committee for Documentation of the International Council of Museums (CIDOC) CONCEPTUAL REFERENCE MODEL (CRM), a high-level ontology to enable information integration for cultural heritage data and their correlation with library and archive information. The CIDOC CRM is now in the process to become an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard. This article justifies in detail the methodology and design by functional requirements and gives examples of its contents. The CIDOC CRM analyzes the common conceptualizations behind data and metadata structures to support data transformation, mediation, and merging. It is argued that such ontologies are propertycentric, in contrast to terminological systems, and should be built with different methodologies. It is demonstrated that ontological and epistemological arguments are equally important for an effective design, in particular when dealing with knowledge from the past in any domain. It is assumed that the presented methodology and the upper level of the ontology are applicable in a far wider domain.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v24i3.1720

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