Methodological tips for mappings to CIDOC CRM

Maria Theodoridou, George Bruseker, Maria Daskalaki, Martin Doerr


The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (ISO 21127:2006) has been chosen as the core model for use in several Cultural Heritage projects including ARIADNE , ITN-DCH , PARTHENOS , and ResearchSpace . A foundational activity of these projects then has been the effort to convert the data stored in existing schemata to an expression in CIDOC-CRM and its extensions. The goal of the conversion process is to enable information exchange and integration between heterogeneous sources of cultural heritage information. In order to support the scalability of these activities, which entail careful analytic work by someone familiar both with the domain and with the ontology, a series of training events were initiated aimed at professionals who have an understanding of the CIDOC CRM and need to develop skills in data mapping techniques.

This paper will present some modelling principles and methodological good practices that we have empirically derived from the above exercises in the sys-tematic mapping of diverse cultural data sets to CIDOC CRM and its extensions. This experience is specifically derived from mapping activities using the 3M (Mapping Memory Manager) tool in the above mentioned projects. In the paper we will address a number of fundamental issues. First, we look at the question of how to determine at the beginning of a mapping - the sufficiency of CIDOC-CRM and/or its extensions, for covering a given data set and when it would prove necessary to extend the model and introduce a new class, and how. We suggest practices related to the handling of identifiers that are local in the original source data set. We also treat some special issues of how to model the roles of people and organizations, including accidental roles, and present a methodology for introducing implicit contextual information. Finally we discuss issues related to the modeling of nationality, country and imaginary places.