Semantic Technologies for Archaeology Resources: Results from the STAR Project

Ceri Binding, Keith May, Renato Rocha Souza, Douglas Tudhope, Andreas Vlachidis

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Cultural heritage organisations are looking to open digital collections and databases, previously confined to specialists, to a wider audience. There is a need for tools to help formulate and refine searches and navigate through the information space of concepts used to describe a collection. Different people use different words for the same concept or may employ slightly different concepts and this ‘vocabulary problem’ is a barrier to widening scholarly access. Additionally different datasets may employ different schema for semantically equivalent information. Entities may have different names but refer to the same underlying concept.
The current situation within English Heritage and the archaeology domain generally is one of fragmented datasets and applications, with different terminology systems. The interpretation of a find (or free text report of an excavation) may not employ the same terms as the underlying dataset. Similarly searchers from different scientific perspectives may not use the same terminology. The cultural heritage sector often employs KOS, such as thesauri, for indexing. However, such vocabulary tools are often not fully integrated into search tools and online practice has tended to mimic traditional print environments. The full potential of these knowledge resources in online environments has not been tapped.
Ontologies offer a high level domain conceptualisation with formal definition of roles and semantic relationships. Within cultural heritage, the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) is emerging as a standard core ontology (DOERR 2003). The CRM is the result of 10 years effort by the CIDOC Documentation Standards Working Group and is an ISO Standard (ISO 21127:2006). It encompasses cultural heritage generally and the intention is that it can mediate between different sources and types of information. In order to supply an umbrella framework to integrate different datasets and thesauri, EH have designed a core ontology based on the CIDOC CRM standard (the CRM-EH), extending the CRM with key archaeological concepts and relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFusion of Cultures
Subtitle of host publicationCAA2010 Abstracts of the XXXVIII Annual Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology
EditorsJavier Melero, Pedro Cano, Jorge Revelles
Place of PublicationSpain
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2010
Event Workshop on CIDOC-CRM and CRM-EH extension - CAA (Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology) 2010 Conference, Granada, Spain
Duration: 6 Apr 20106 Apr 2010


Workshop Workshop on CIDOC-CRM and CRM-EH extension
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