Conceptual Reference Model

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    Papers and Presentations

    Please send your proposals for this page to: Martin Doerr <>

    Applications & Politics

    • Prasenjit Mitra, Gio Wiederhold & Stefan Decker, A Scalable Framework for the Interoperation of Information Sources.

    • An interesting paper about mapping and transformation between databases and XML:
      Ronald Bourret, XML and Databases, June 2001. ,

    • Aseem Das, Wei Wu & Deborah L. McGuinness, Industrial Strength Ontology Management

    • This paper presented by Carl Lagoze at the Library of Congress' recent Bicentennial Conference describes the threats posed to traditional library catalogs by metadata (referred to as a "disruptive technology") and the fluidity of digital resources, and the potential benefits of event-based models such as the ABC/Harmony model and the CIDOC CRM:
      Carl Lagoze, Business Unusual: How "Event'Awareness" May Breathe Life Into the Catalog? , Prepared for Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium, Library of Congress, November 15-17 2000. Available:

    • This paper describes technical solutions that are at hand to address the problem of convergence in resource discovery, from the point of view of Australian memory organisations. These solutions may take advantage of standards such as the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set and the Encoded Archival Description:
      Warwick Cathro, Smashing the Silos: Towards Convergence in Information Management and Resource Discovery, Prepared for Information Orienteering Conference, Canberra 5 April 2001. Available:

    • This program will touch many topics the CIDOC CRM is thought for:
      The American South: Program Planning for Resources in Culture & History, Report to the Southeastern Universities Research Association from the SOLINET/ASERL Planning Committee, April 2000.

    • The CIMI Side of RLG: Why RLG has always been a member of the CIMI consortium, (RLG Focus, February 2001). Available:
      There are links at the end of the article to both the CIDOC home page (with yet other links!) and to the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model.

    • This gives a broad overview/introduction of the model:
      Touring the RLG Information Landscape: the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, (RLG Focus, August 2000).

    The following items are about information integration technology only:

    • Here a technological project in the wider area of achieving interoperability:
      MIX: Mediation of Information Using XML,

    • An interesting product, which actually works: XML Junction claims to support data integration from hundreds of data formats on virtually any platform:
      XML Junction Net ,


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    Philosophical Considerations

    • This paper presented by Carl Lagoze at the Library of Congress' recent Bicentennial Conference describes the threats posed to traditional library catalogs by metadata (referred to as a "disruptive technology") and the fluidity of digital resources, and the potential benefits of event-based models such as the ABC/Harmony model and the CIDOC CRM:
      Carl Lagoze, Business Unusual: How "Event'Awareness" May Breathe Life Into the Catalog? , Prepared for Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium, Library of Congress, November 15-17 2000. Available:

    • This paper provides a comprehensive discussion about the relation between reality and conceptual models. A must for everyone dealing with conceptual modelling!
      John M. Artz, A crash course in metaphysics for the database designer , Journal of Database Management 8(4), 1997.

    • The following paper provides a deep inside in matters of Physical Objects and Physical Features. We may regard Physical Features as "fiat objects". Personally, I would however not regard a set of chessman as "fiat objects", a nice matter for discussion!
      Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi, Fiat & Bona Fide Boundaries , Available at: (html version) & (pdf version)

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    Data Structures, Formats & Encoding

    The following papers provide a sound theory for the notions of time proposed in version 3.0 of the CIDOC CRM:

    • Wes Cowley & Dimitris Plexousakis, Temporal Integrity Constraints with Indeterminacy , Proccedings of the 26th VDLB Conference, Cairo, Egypt, 2000. Available: ps file (180 Kb).

    • Wes Cowley & Dimitris Plexousakis, An Interval Algebra for Inderterminate Time , Copyright © 2000, American Association for Artificial Intelligence ( Available: ps file (103 Kb).

    • This paper describes a straightforward method to create a DTD from an ontology like the CIDOC CRM. Of course other methods are possible, but this looks quite reasonable. It does not seem to foresee inverse link formulation, something we could easily add. The idea to have the whole model as one DTD and to pick up a root element at need is not bad. Much can be done with multiple stylesheets on top. It can be taken as a base to create further compatible derivatives:
      Michael Erdmann, Rudi Studer, Ontologies as Conceptual Models for XML Documents , In: Proceedings of the 12th Workshop for Knowledge Acquisition, Modeling and management (KAW'99), Banff, Canada, October 1999. Available:

    • RDFS is being accepted as W3C standard. See:
      Dan Brickley, R.V. Guha, Resource Description Framework (RDF) - Schema Specification , W3C Proposed Recommendation 03 March 1999. Available:
      Currently, RDFS is the best data exchange format for the CIDOC CRM. As such, it can be directly used for RDF Metadata formulation. A prototype XML DTD, or better XML Schema, and a UML formulation would round up the practical offer.

    • The following is an important data format for art object description:
      AMICO Data Specification , February 1999 Available:

    • You may find this paper interesting:
      S. Cranefield and M. Purvis, UML as an Ontology Modelling Language , In Proceedings of the Workshop on Intelligent Information Integration, 16th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-99), 1999. Available:
      The CIDOC CRM could be represented in this form of UML. Properties (Attributes in the TELOS terminology) become association classes. It supports IsA hierarchies between properties and properties on properties. Attributes (those in the class boxes) would not be allowed to be used. Unnamed associations and aggregations should be forbidden as well. All associations would be 0..* at both ends.
      As the paper points out, UML semantics are still rather undefined. The graphical representation would be useful in any case.
      Note the two names at each end of an association! This is precisely the way we name properties in the CIDOC CRM, a feature missing in RDF.

    • This comprehensive note may find your interest. The same arguments apply to why the CIDOC CRM is not defined as XML model:
      Tim Berners-Lee, Why RDF model is different from the XML model , September 1998. Available:

    • Implementations based on the CIDOC CRM imply the generation of supposedly unique identifiers. Typically nothing bad happens, if, e.g., Martin D?rr and Doerr, M. are taken for two different persons. We get less conclusions, but no false results (under certain assumptions). Eventually, the CIDOC CRM should contain a property "presumably identical" etc. Here two papers, which deal with algorithms to find out duplicates:
      Tak W. Yan, Hector Garcia-Molina, "Duplicate Removal in Information Dissemination" , Stanford University, Draft 2000-10-2 11:33.
      James C. French, "Automating the Construction of Authority Files in Digital Libraries: A Case Study", ECDL'97.

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    Conceptual Modeling, Ontologies & Metadata

    • Graphical representation of the harmonized EDM-CRM-FRBRoo-DC-ORE models, Martin Doerr, September 2011
            Available: EDM-DC-ORE-CRM-FRBR_Integration.ppt (195 Kb)

    • Graphical representation of the harmonized EDM-CRM-FRBRoo-DC-ORE-CRMdig models, Martin Doerr, September 2011
            Available: EDM-DC-ORE-CRM-FRBR-CRMdig_Integration.ppt file [222Kb]

    • This paper motivates and describes the methodology applied to the CIDOC CRM:
      Martin Doerr, "The CIDOC CRM - an Ontological Approach to Semantic Interoperability of Metadata", to appear in: AI Magazine, Special Issue on Ontologies, Nov. 2002. Available: word file [447 Kb], pdf file [589 Kb]

    • This paper describes a merging of the CIDOC CRM and MPEG-7
      J. Hunter, "Combining the CIDOC CRM and MPEG-7 to Describe Multimedia in Museums", Museums on the Web 2002, Boston, April 2002. Available: pdf file
    • Prasenjit Mitra, Gio Wiederhold and Stefan Decker: A Scalable Framework for Interoperation of Information Sources.
      1st International Semantic Web Working Symposium (SWWS `01), Stanford University, Stanford, CA, July 29-Aug 1, 2001, Jul. 2001. Available: pdf file.
    • An good introductory article about ontology development, as cited in the new weekly newsletter ShelfLife recently:
      Natalya F. Noy & Deborah L. McGuinness, Ontology Development 101: A Guide to Creating Your First Ontology . Available: html file (197 Kb).

    • This paper describes the latest version of the ABC metadata model:
      Carl Lagoze & Jane Hunter, The ABC Ontology and Model.Journal of Digital information, volume 2 issue 2 Themes: Digital libraries, Information discovery 2001-11-06 Available: pdf file (275 Kb).

    • A presentation illustrating in simple terms some benefits of object-oriented models for information integration:
      Martin Doerr Why do we need an "Object Oriented Model" ? , Atlanta, August 31, 2000. Available: ppt file (113 Kb).

    • Martin Doerr Background of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, Ottawa, August 29, 2000. Available: ppt file (80 Kb).
      This presentation describes the history and rationale of the CIDOC CRM. Presented in Ottawa on the CIMI meeting.

    • Martin Doerr, Nick Crofts, Maria Theodoridou, Metadata and the CIDOC CRM - A Solution for Semantic Interoperability , CIDOC 2000 Conference, Ottawa, August 25, 2000. Available: ppt file (556 Kb).
      This presentation explains the role of the CIDOC CRM with respect to metadata.

    • Maria Theodoridou, Martin Doerr, Classifying Historical Documents , ICS-FORTH, July 2000. Available: ppt file (147 Kb).
      This presentation proposes a method for classifying historical archives at item level. This method has been applied in the Greek project ARCHON on the Turkish Archive of the City of Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

    • Martin Doerr, The CIDOC CRM Format , Washington, September 22, 1999. Available: ppt file (47 Kb).
      This presentation describes the format of the Definition of the object-oriented Conceptual Reference Model. 

    • Those interested in the problem of subject encoding should read this paper. Beyond that, it is a wonderful study about alternatives in conceptual modelling. 
      Christopher A. Welty & Jessica Jenkins,Formal Ontology for Subject, Appeared in J. Knowledge and Data Engineering. 31(2)155-182. September, 1999. Copyright 1999, Elsevier Science. Available:

    • This paper shows, how an ontology like the CIDOC CRM can be applied to metadata mapping. Jane Hunter & Darren James, The Application of an Event-Aware Metadata Model to an Online Oral History Project

    • The following paper presents an approach intellectually related to the CIDOC CRM:
      David Bearman, Eric Miller, Godfrey Rust, Jennifer Trant, Stuart Weibel, A Common Model to Support Interoperable Metadata - Progress report on reconciling metadata requirements from the Dublin Core and INDECS/DOI Communities , D-Lib Magazine, January 1999 Available:

    • With this presentation we published the first version of the CIDOC CRM to the CIDOC community
      Martin Doerr, Nicholas Crofts, Electronic Communication on Diverse Data - The Role of the oo CIDOC Reference Model , 18th General Conference of the INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF MUSEUMS (ICOM), Melbourne, Australia, October 13, 1998. Available: ppt file (469 Kb).

    • The following paper explains in chapter 2.1 the "incremental approach", which is analogous to the notion of "extensibility" we like to develop for the CIDOC CRM. The "Enterprise Model" can be regarded equivalent to the CIDOC CRM, the "intermodel assertions" equivalent to mappings to other data formats. The Description Logic framework is less theoretical, than it may appear. In real implementations, procedural approaches can often replace the use of a DL implementation. DL is useful to prove, that solutions exist. DL and RDF/RDFS are very close. DL can be seen as reasoning mechanism over RDFS/RDF:
      D.Calvanese, G. De Giacomo, M.Lenzerini, D.Nardi, R.Rosati, Descripton Logic Framework for Information Integration , Proc. of the 6th Int. Conf. on the Principles of Knowledge Representation & Reasoning (KR' 98), pages 2-13, 1998. Available:

    • This reference model for bibliographic concepts, even though not object-oriented, is extraordinary in the detail and clarity of its definitions, and can be related to the CIDOC CRM:
      Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records , Final Report, UBCIM Publications - New Series Vol 19, September 1997 Available:

    • The data model of the National Museum of Denmark, shares many concepts with the CIDOC CRM:
      Barry Eaglestone, Robert Holton, Lene Rold, GENREG: A Historical Data Model Based on Event Graphs , DEXA 1996: 254-263. Available:

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