CRM Special Interest Group

The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model Special Interest Group

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 was accepted as working draft by ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9 in September 2000. On 12 September 2006 it became official standard ISO 21127:2006.

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
Tel: +30(81)39 16 25
Address: Institute of Computer Science, Foundation for Research and Technology, Vassilika Vouton, P.O.Box 1385,GR 711 10 Heraklion, Crete, Greece