Issue 295: Digital Libraries as physical objects

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Working Group: 

Voting for the label of E78 from Collection to Curated Holding the following emals have been exchange:

posted by Franco  on 6/2/2016

Not a vote, but an amateur comment.

-> Collection vs Curated Holdings
Of course. There are “collections" of things which are not curated, just an assemblage of stuff. Like some old objects I have which I call my collection of old computational instruments, but according to the qualified opinion of my wife is just a dust attractor.

But, what about a collection (oops, curated holdings) of videogames like the one of the National Videogame Museum of Frisco, TX, USA ( It seems that what they collect (oops, “curate and hold”) forms a collection of E28 Conceptual Object rather than E18 Physical Thing.

Possibly defining E78 as a curated assemblage of instances of E72 Legal Object or, maybe even better, of E70 Thing (in some cases rights may be difficult to ascertain as in the examples below), would reconcile the CRM with the curators of the Frisco museum; and also simplify life to the curators of the Museo Officina Profumo from the Old Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, which I hope you will be able to visit when you come here for the next CRM meeting, as well as to their colleagues of the Musèe International du Perfum of Grasse, France. Is fragrance a Physical Thing? What about the exhibitions for visually impaired people consisting in a garden where they smell the scent of different flowers along the visit?

-> Holding vs holdings
My knowledge of English is even more superficial than my knowledge of the CRM, so my opinion is not so qualified. It seems to me that “holdings” is used here in the plural as a collective noun, and not as the result of putting together one individual “holding" with another one and another one and so on, as a genuine plural; it is unfortunately written in the plural, what makes pluralizing it a bit awkward if one wants to keep the “holdings" distinct from each other, as Werner has pointed out. Not only: it makes difficult to express indefiniteness as when using the indefinite article “a” to indicate “one of a series", like in the second sentence of this email where I was in trouble being unable to call it “a curated holdings” as “a” cannot go with “holdings”. So what would be the correct way of expressing the equivalent of “a collection” i.e. one instance whatever of the class “curated holdings”? Wouldn't the sentence "Is_A curated_holdings” descri
bing a future subclass of E78 sound strange?

Finally, holdings is a synonym of property, according to my Oxford dictionary, which is not the case if the objects forming the collection (oops, holdings) are just deposited, on lean, or illegally/controversially detained. There are famous examples of the latter.

So I would prefer “curated set” or better “curated assemblage”, being “set" a very generic term not incorporating the concept of intentionality.

Anyway, this concern about a name is not so important: that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. More important is, in my opinion, the issue concerning E18 vs E28 => E72/E70 to characterize the components of E78, as noted above.

Posted by Martin on 6/2/2016

As an explanation what has been discussed in the meeting:
Librarians talk about "holdings" wrt to library contents.
It means the physical copies. Therefore they are physical. So, there is a good practice of the term there,
which actually motivated the proposal.

The argument why we have modelled collections as physical things, regardless the intentional content:
The video games, in order to be in a collection, must be represented by physical copies.
If we would disregard the physical nature of the copy, we could not talk about location and destruction.
This is also the sense how libraries distinguish holdings from content.

Would that make sense?

posted by Franco on 7/2/2016

very clear, thanks. Just a bit nineteen-century-ish: what about digital libraries and digital curation, which does not concern curating the servers (or the Cloud) on which their instances of E28 reside?
It seems that they are beyond the (current) scope of the CRM, what sounds a bit paradoxical, but nevertheless perfectly logical. 


Posted by Martin on 7/2/2016

May be I confused you: by physical copies in the CRM we do not mean on paper. We mean any material
carrier, which implies computer discs, albeit somewhere in the Cloud only the provider knows (but someone
must know it).

Badly enough, this is not in the collection scope note. It is only implicit in the information carrier.

I propose to adapt the scope note of E78. The issue was modelled in more detail in FRBRoo, but not transferred
back into the CRM.

Would we agree now ?


E84 Information Carrier

Subclass of:         E22 Man-Made Object

Scope note:         This class comprises all instances of E22 Man-Made Object that are explicitly designed to act as persistent physical carriers for instances of E73 Information Object.

An E84 Information Carrier may or may not contain information, e.g., a diskette. Note that any E18 Physical Thing may carry information, such as an E34 Inscription. However, unless it was specifically designed for this purpose, it is not an Information Carrier. Therefore the property P128 carries (is carried by) applies to E18 Physical Thing in general.


§  the Rosetta Stone

§  my paperback copy of Crime & Punishment

§  the computer disk at ICS-FORTH that stores the canonical Definition of the CIDOC CRM

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