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Introduction to the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model

Martin Doerr , Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH), Greece
Nicholas Crofts , Direction des Systèmes d'Information (DSI), Geneva, Switzerland

Session: CIDOC Object Oriented Data Model

The ICOM/CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) is an object oriented semantic schema, intended for use in the design and implementation of cultural heritage information systems. In particular it aims at providing the common point of conceptual reference (domain ontology) that will allow the next generation of information access systems to mediate correctly between diverse information formats in the cultural area. Following several years of development, the model was presented at the ICOM conference in Melbourne in 1988. The model is currently under evaluation by ISO as a potential standard.

The CRM differs from previous standards in that it adopts a 'maximalist' approach to dealing with complex, heterogeneous data. Rather than flattening out structures and accepting only a restricted subset of data, it is designed to enable information from different sources to be combined without significant loss of detail, both from different domains and from 'poorer' and 'richer' schemata. For that purpose, specific ways for its extension and abstraction have been foreseen. In its current stage it concentrates on the physical description, history and handling of material objects.

The workshop presents the basic structures and concepts underlying the model and looks at implementation issues. In more detail, it will:

1. Introduce the idea of object-orientation on examples of cultural documentation

2. Present the methodology and presentation formalism used for the CRM

3. Introduce and justify the CRM key concepts

4. Go through a real implemented data example.

5. Demonstrate its application for the design of poorer or richer information systems and for communication between heterogenous sources.

The workshop addresses designers and implementers of documentation systems, collection management systems, information access systems in the cultural area and IT experts and IT responsibles in cultural organizations.

The participants will engage in two small exercises, half an hour each, one on a modeling problem and one on a mapping problem between different formats.