One Ontology to Rule Them All—CIDOC CRM in the Humanities and Its Use in OpenAtlas
The CIDOC Concept Reference Model (CRM, https://www.cidoc-crm.org), developed by the International Council of Museums’ International Committee for Documentation (CIDOC), is a widespread ontology in the field of digital humanities. Its version 7.1.1, used within OpenAtlas (https://www.cidoc-crm.org/version/version-7.1.1), consists of classes that can be connected via properties to structure data in a standardised way and create entity-relationship models.
Mapping one’s research data using an ontology that is accepted and widely used in the community is consistent with the FAIR Principles (https://www.go-fair.org/fair-principles). Using CIDOC CRM on the INDIGO dataset enables the recombination with already existing research data in this structure as well as the contentious use in new projects is easily possible. This significantly extends the life cycle of the data and prevents the laboriously collected data from remaining unused after the end of the project.
However, the use of ontologies including the CIDOC CRM, requires a certain training period and the time and resources to learn how to use it. OpenAtlas (https://openatlas.eu), as an open-source database system, allows for easy input of research data without prior knowledge of ontologies or other digital humanities applications. The stored data are mapped to the CIDOC CRM model in the background of the application without the user needing to engage with it.