Cultural Heritage Metadata Task Group

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DCMI Cultural Heritage Metadata Task Group

The goal of this task group is to identify the challenges of metadata for cultural heritage and to provide a simple cross-community metadata model for Cultural Heritage Objects and give a recommendation for the development of DCMI Application Profiles. The recommendation will provide a basis for the development of Application Profiles / Description Set Profiles for different types of Cultural Heritage Objects.


  • Co-chairs: Stefanie Rühle(SUB Göttingen) and Emad Khazraee (Drexel University)
  • Status: This group is currently active
  • Date created: 2012-2-23
  • Discussion List: Cultural Heritage Metadata List

Introduction

In the past few years more and more national and international projects have been developing interfaces for the common provision of metadata describing digital and non-digital cultural objects from different communities (archives, libraries, historic preservation organizations, museums, cultural science etc.). Some of the better known projects of this type are the World Digital Library, WorldCat and Europeana. But to harmonize metadata from these different communities often seems to be a Sisyphean struggle, because the data models are more designed on the community requirements than on requirements of cross-community interoperability. For example, museums are interested in event-based models, archives model their metadata generally hierarchically and libraries prefer the “traditional” edition based models or use the FRBR model with its distinction between work, expression, manifestation and item. Furthermore data models used by historic preservation and cultural science organizations are often domain-specific or in-house solutions, only partly compliant to internationally used metadata standards. To bridge the gap between these different models some of the projects use cross-community data models such as:

  • The Europeana Data Model (EDM) – a model based on Dublin Core and Linked Open Data technologies – or
  • CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) – primarily developed for museums and continuously evolved as an RDF compliant cross-community standard.

Such models are highly complex and it needs extensive training to understand and implement them. Moreover, it is not clear to what extent these models are compliant with one to another. Another challenge is that the concept of cultural heritage has been expanded in recent decades. Cultural heritage is not only physical objects anymore. UNESCO adopted the concept of intangible heritage considering non-physical (immaterial) heritage. Moreover, most of the efforts to address the challenges of the cultural heritage metadata concentrated in three main cultural memory institutions, libraries, archives and museums, whereas the field of cultural heritage is not limited to these three institutions, there are others. For example, data about management and preservation of monuments and sites is out of scope for the museum sector. Another example is the huge amount of information which seldom finds its way to the museums, that is, the data archaeologists’ record in the site field notes. Activities similar to these are not captured in those three institutions. That's why we need a more inclusive approach to cultural heritage metadata including the development of intangible heritage and other activities in the domain of cultural heritage.

Therefore, a thorough analysis of these challenges considering the broader community of cultural heritage and the cross community requirements of metadata seems necessary. This work should include the analysis of the former attempts in the field to address these challenges. This analysis can provide a framework for cultural heritage metadata including the development of a simple Dublin Core based data model and metadata core set would function to:

  • Support users to develop less complex and easier to use metadata applications that are nonetheless compliant with the requirements of Linked Open Data.
  • Support the mapping of metadata based on different cross-community models.

Objective of the Task Group

To identify the challenges of metadata for cultural heritage and to provide a simple cross-community metadata model for Cultural Heritage Objects and give a recommendation for the development of DCMI Application Profiles. The recommendation will provide a basis for the development of Application Profiles / Description Set Profiles for different types of Cultural Heritage Objects.

Work Plan

The Task Group will:

  • Identify the challenges of metadata for cultural heritage (until September 2012)
  • Identify the functional requirements of different Cultural Heritage communities (e.g., museums, archives, libraries etc.) - (until September 2012)
  • Evaluate earlier and existing Cultural Heritage models like CIMI, VRACore, Object ID, EDM, CIDOC-CRM (until September 2012)
  • Investigate the issues and lessons learned by the harvesting of metadata for inclusion in ARTstor (Getty spearheaded process), Europeana and the German Digital Library. (until September 2012)
  • Develop a simple DCMI model for Cultural Heritage Objects (until September 2012)
  • Establish a metadata core set for Cultural Heritage Objects (until September 2013)
  • Prepare recommendations for the development of Application Profiles / Description Set Profiles for Cultural Heritage Objects (until September 2013)

Meetings

TaskGroup_Meeting_DC2013

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