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The knowledge resources and models relative to cultural heritage

In this section, we present the different knowledge resources to consider when developing a solution of cultural heritage documentation and promotion.

Metadata norms

A metadata norm is a metadata schema made up of a set of properties and vocabularies developed by specific communities (libraries, archives, museums, editors, etc.) and used to describe the data in order to resolve specific problems like the structuring and exchange of data [DOE 06].

Metadata norms, however, are generally thought up for general descriptions; they are not intended to describe the semantic richness of the domain. The use of these metadata elements is useful for indexing and to achieve better interoperability between systems [ZAB 12].

Dublin Core

Dublin Core is a metadata schema based on 15 essential properties to describe online and physical resources [WEL 10]. The 15 elements are

contributor, coverage, creator, date, description, format, identifier, language, publisher, relation, rights, source, subject, title and type.

The use of these elements can be combined with the DMCI Type vocabulary to designate the possible type of a resource, such as text, sound and image. Other vocabularies can be used as well, like DDC[1], LCC[2], LCSH[3], MESH[4], TGN[5], and UDC[6].

There are also qualified elements of Dublin Core that refine the 15 base elements, like hasPart and hasVersion, which refine the relation property. In the same way, the created and modified properties refine the date property.

Furthermore, the Dublin Core schema defines a certain number of classes that are used with the Dublin Core properties. For example, the property medium (material) associates the class PhysicalResource with the class PhysicalMedium to document the material observed in a physical resource.

In the following example (Figure 6.1), Dublin Core is used to add metadata on the Mona Lisa. As we can see, Dublin Core elements do not give rich, precise semantics. For example, the element is used to add the titles, but without any additional information on these titles. Moreover, the element does not distinguish between the creator of the physical painting and the creator of the digital resources that represent the painting.

With dates, too, we cannot know the real meaning of the element, because we can imagine several dates, such as:

  • - the production date;
  • - the completion date;
  • - the date of acquisition by a museum.

Even when we use Dublin Core’s qualified elements, we still need richer semantics, particularly for a domain as complex as cultural heritage.

An example of Dublin Core elements

Figure 6.1. An example of Dublin Core elements

  • [1] Dewey Decimal Classification.
  • [2] Library of Congress Classification.
  • [3] Library of Congress Subject Headings.
  • [4] Medical Subject Headings.
  • [5] Thesaurus of Geographic Names.
  • [6] Universal Decimal Classification.
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