Conceptual Reference Model

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Over many years, CIDOC and the CIDOC Documentation Standards Working Group (DSWG) have engaged in the creation of a general data model for museums, with a particular focus on information interchange. Until 1994 the product of these activities had been the CIDOC Relational Data Model. In the interim meeting in March 1996 in Crete, the DSWG decided to engage in an object-oriented approach in order to benefit from its expressive power and extensibility for dealing with the necessary diversity and complexity of data structures in the domain. This effort resulted in 1999 in the first complete edition of the "CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model" (CRM), a product of the intensive voluntary work of a variety of contributors. In order to exploit fully the potential of the CRM as a means of enabling information interchange and integration in the museum community and beyond, CIDOC decided in London 1999 to submit the CRM to ISO for standardization. ISO, in contrast to CIDOC, has the procedures and authority to create and declare well-defined, valid editions of international recommendations. (The CIDOC CRM has been accepted as working draft by ISO/TC46/SC4 in September 2000. Since 9/12/2006 it is official standard ISO 21127:2006. On December 2014 a new version of the standard became available ISO21127:2014 (based on version 5.0.4 of the CIDOC CRM).

In practice, this means that CIDOC will make use of the services of ISO and collaborate with the respective ISO committees to bring the CRM to the suitable final form and to ensure the widest possible agreement with the broader international community. It is thereby understood that CIDOC will offer the lead in the collaboration with the ISO committees by inviting and bringing together interested stakeholder,s of all kinds and from different areas, into an effective working group. This group should engage in all appropriate actions to bring the objectives of the CRM forward - foster application, dissemination and ensure that the final form of the CRM represents the needs of all interest groups.

 The work is not thought to end with the completion of the standardization process. The CRM is an extensible model and there will be a continuous need to elaborate new areas, as well as keep the model in line with the inevitable changes and progress of conceptualization for information integration. In addition, there will be a lot of application issues, including the development of tools, guides for best practice etc., which will benefit from a central forum for harmonization.

 In consideration of this, CIDOC decided in Ottawa, August 2000 to initiate the CRM Special Interest Group. Martin Doerr has been nominated as first chair of this group. It is a working group under the patronage of CIDOC that is not restricted to CIDOC members and is empowered to seek funding to carry out and promote its objectives. Its scope, status and proposed operation is explained in the following pages.

Since June 2001, the work of the Special Interest Group has been supported by the Fifth Framework of the European Commission's IST programme in the context of the CHIOS project .

Martin Doerr, chair, Greece
Tel: +30(81)39 16 25
Address: Institute of Computer Science, Foundation for Research and Technology
Institute of Computer Science, N. Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton, GR-700 13 Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Christian-Emil Ore, deputy chair, Norway
Tel: +47 22856968/+47 90117410
Address: University of Oslo, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian studies/Unit for Digital Documentation
P.o.Box 1102 Blindern, NO-0317 Oslo, Norway

Dominic Oldman, deputy chair, UK

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Last Updated: 30-01-2015