Semantic Research Environments


The working group addresses the upcoming of Virtual Research Environments (VREs) in combination with semantic methods and techniques and their impact on documentation. A virtual research environment (VRE) is a (heterogeneous) digital infrastructure that supports various steps of the research process. The working group defines a Semantic Research Environment (SRE) as a VRE that relies consequently on semantic methods.

The working group discusses the following topics:

  • What are the building blocks of SREs, such as ontologies, authoritativedata, communication means, and tools for digital data processing and evaluation? How can these building blocks be arranged in a modular and flexible fashion?
  • How can semantic methods be effectively applied in museum documentation? In particular, this includes collecting and disseminating existing semantic resources such as ontologies and authority files for museum documentation. Guidelines for ontology usage and blueprints for recurring modeling and mapping tasks shall be developed.
  • What are the advantages of using SREs in museum documentation? Why should non-researchers use them, what can they expect?



The Semantic Research Environments Working Group evolved from the former Transdisiplinary Approaches in Documentation Working Group (TrAiD), that aimed at applying the philosophical concept of transdisciplinarity to museum documentation. The work revealed a need for practical prerequisites. VREs in combination with semantic techniques have been identified as key enablers for transdisciplinary work. Finally, in 2012 this led to the re-orientation of the working group.


Mark Fichtner, Chair, m.fichtner[at] Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Department of Cultural Informatics, Nuremberg, Germany

Günther Görz, Co-Chair, guenther.goerz[at], Friedrich-Alexander-Universität of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Department of Computer Science, AG Digital Humanities, Germany

Georg Hohmann, Co-Chair, g.hohmann[at], Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany