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Electronic Esperanto: The Role of the Object Oriented CIDOC Reference Model

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

Session: Knowledge Representation

Over the past few years, the ICOM/CIDOC document standards group has been developing an object oriented Conceptual Reference Model. The model represents an 'ontology' for cultural heritage information, i.e., it describes in a formal language the explicit and implicit concepts and relations relevant to the documentation of cultural heritage. The primary role of the CRM is to serve as a basis for mediation of cultural heritage information and thereby provides the semantic 'glue' needed to transform today's disparate, localized information sources into a coherent and valuable global resource. The model provides mechanisms for dealing with a number of complex issues in a coherent manner: varying levels of detail and precision, transfer of information between 'richer' and'pooer'systems and extensions to incorporate domain specific information. This paper explains how the model can be used as a reference in the cultural sector. It is intended both to represent good practice in the representation of information and to be used as a practical aid in the design and implementation of mediation servers, search engines, databases, DTD's, Z39.50 access profiles, Metadata, documentation guidelines, and similar products. using the CRM ensures semantic compatibility between systems and services and removes the need for one to one conversions between different native formats. The paper should be of interest to curators and other domain specialists, as well as system designers and implementors working in the cultural domain. Documentation concerning the model is available at http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/cidoc/oomodel/