Conceptual Reference Model

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The current page contains information about the various applications of the CIDOC CRM. A detailed list of references to the CIDOC CRM that have come to our attention can be found on the References page.



Arches is an open source immovable cultural heritage inventory platform that was built from the ground up using the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model as the framework for its overall data structure. Arches is designed to take advantage of the CIDOC CRM's approach to create meaningful data relationships between heritage resources and groups, activities, actors, events, and information media.

  References: Carlisle, P. K., I. Avramides, A. Dalgity, and D. Myers. 2014. "The Arches Heritage Inventory and Management System: A Standards-Based Approach to the Management of Cultural Heritage Information." Paper presented at the CIDOC (International Committee for Documentation of the International Council of Museums) Conference: Access and Understanding – Networking in the Digital Era, Dresden, Germany, 6-11 September 2014.
  Contact Person: Phil Carlisle, English Heritage



The ResearchSpace project is using the CIDOC-Conceptual Reference Model to bring together data from different cultural heritage organisations.

  References: Vladimir Alexiev, Implementing CIDOC CRM Search Based on Fundamental Relations and OWLIM Rules. Proceedings of 2nd International Workshop on Semantic Digital Archives (SDA 2012), part of the 16th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL 2012). September 2012, Paphos, Cyprus.
  Contact Person: Dominic Oldman

LIDO Lightweight Information Describing Objects


LIDO, specified as XML Schema, is the result of a joint effort of the CDWA Lite, museumdat, SPECTRUM and CIDOC CRM. Under suitable choice of terminology, LIDO maps to a CIDOC CRM compatible form.

  Contact Person:

Regine Stein
Leiterin Informationstechnik
Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte Bildarchiv Foto Marburg
Biegenstraße 11
D-35037 Marburg

Tel.: +49 (0) 6421-28 23666
Fax: +49 (0) 6421-28 28931


The Arachne project


Arachne is the central Object database of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) and the Archaeological Institute of the University of Cologne, administrated by Reinhard Foertsch

  Contact Person: Reinhard Foertsch

CLAROS (Classical Art Research Online Services)


CLAROS (Classical Art Research Online Services) provides access to information about ancient Greek and Roman art (sculpture, painted pottery, engraved gems and cameos, etc.) held in museums worldwide.  It uses CIDOC CRM and RDF as the basis for combining more than 2,000,000 records and images held in five databases that have been created by leading European research centres over thirty years. From 2010 CLAROS will welcome new institutional partners with major datasets to extend the scope of information covered, and bring to new facilities for accessing the data, such as the CLAROS Explorer faceted browser, and image-based information retrieval.

  Contact Person: Graham Klyne

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has recently implemented a new version of their Collections' Online site and they used the CIDOC CRM as a framework to define the relationships between objects, people, places, categories and narrative topics.

  Contact Person: Philip Edgar

STAR Project (Semantic Technologies for Archaeological Resources)


The STAR Project (Semantic Technologies for Archaeological Resources) uses the CRM as an umbrella framework for cross searching different archaeological datasets and the grey literature.

They make use of the English Heritage extension to the CRM (CRMEH) for modelling archaeological processes. The project has developed various web services for accessing the CRM and related archaeological thesauri, along with a demonstrator for cross searching.

  References: Binding C., Tudhope D., Knowledge Organisation Systems and Services Publications, 2008
  Contact Person: Douglas Tudhope

Germanische Nationalmuseum Nuremberg


The following DTDs have been designed for use at the Germanische Nationalmuseum Nuremberg in collaboration with ICS-FORTH on a CRM base. They reflect three stages of documentation:

The latter will be varied according to the documentation needs of the different departments/ disciplines in the museum. All three conform with the CIDOC Information Categories, and can be mapped directly to the CRM.

They are an example of good practice of the use of the CRM. DTDs as data entry formats must be closer to the individual user's conceptualization than the overarching ontology. They must further express consistency constraints to assist data validation. They need not, in all parts, fulfill the finest level of detail avalable in the CRM, but can be on a coarser or finer level. Finally they must support a reasonable representation during data entry.

Here, e.g., for the object history the preference was given to more free text representation. The DTD merely maintains the integrity of dates, places and participants in events, but does not go into specific roles. A grouping of the information into logical documentation units has been done in order to suggest to the user which information to provide. This grouping has no semantic role wrt the object, therefore it has no equivalent in the CRM. These are nice examples that demonstrate, why the CRM is NOT and should not be a documentation format.

The DTDs are available in German and English. The associated Style Sheets (CSS-English version, CSS-German version) contain :before statements, which are not supported by Microsoft Internet Explorer. They can be seen with the XMetal Editor. Alternatively, an XSL file can be used to put a text before an element.

  Contact Person: Martin Doerr, ISL - FORTH
Siegfried Krause, Germanische Nationalmuseum Nuremberg

SamSök Project


The SamSök Project uses the CIDOC CRM for data structuring

  Contact Person: Jacob Lundqvist

Bletchley Park Text


The Bletchley Park Text application uses the CIDOC CRM as its backbone ontology.

  Contact Person: Zdenek Zdrahal



The LOGOMAR project uses the CIDOC CRM as a basis for data structuring.

  Contact Person:



The design of the database employed by RLG in its Cultural Materials Initiative is based on the CIDOC CRM


Merrilee Proffitt, Metadata Matters: an RLG-Sponsored Forum at SAA

Tony Gill, Touring the Information Landscape: Designing the Data Model for RLG Cultural Materials,
October 2002

  Contact Person: Tony Gill

The Data Services Unit of English Heritage


The Data Services Unit of English Heritage proposes to use the CRM to map key heritage datasets, develop new schema and facilitate interoperability. Among projects benefiting from this work are the development of an XML schema for MIDAS ( and the Heritage Data Directory (HEDD).

  Contact Person: Edmund Lee, English Heritage

The European IST Project SCULPTEUR (IST-2001-35372)


The vision of SCULPTEUR is to develop both the technology and the expertise to help create, manipulate, manage and present these cultural archives, and make available cultural heritage to European people and the world.

It employs the CIDOC CRM to develop a sophisticated semantic layer for distributed multimedia information management and a knowledge structure linking low and high-level multimedia representations.


Sinclair, P. A. S., Goodall, S., Lewis, P. H., Martinez, K. and Addis, M. J., Concept browsing for multimedia retrieval in the SCULPTEUR project,
In Proceedings of The 2nd Annual European Semantic Web Conference (in press), Heraklion, Crete, 2005

Addis, M. J., Goodall, S., Lewis, P. H., Martinez, K., Sinclair, P. A. S., Giorgini, F., Lahanier, C., Stevenson, J., Cappellini, M., Serni, L. and Rimaboschi, R., Searching and Exploring Multimedia Museum Collections Over the Web
In Proceedings of EVA 2005

Addis, M., Boniface, M., Goodall, S., Grimwood, P., Kim, S., Lewis, P., Martinez, K. and Stevenson, A., SCULPTEUR: Towards a New Paradigm for Multimedia Museum Information Handling
In Proceedings of Semantic Web ISWC 2870, pages 582 -596, November 2003

M. Addis, F. Giorgini, P. Lewis, K. Martinez, Content and concept-based retrieval and navigation tools in Sculpteur
In Proceedings of EVA London 2003, University College, London, July 2003

The database EROS of the C2RMF allows access by the CIDOC CRM based model.
Christian Lahanier, EROS : a European Research Open System

  Contact Person: Fabrizio Giorgini



Musinfo est le projet d'informatisation des quatre institutions scientifiques de la Ville de Genève: les Conservatoires et Jardin botaniques (CJB), les Musées d'art et d'histoire (MAH), le Musée d'ethnographie (ETH) et le Muséum d'histoire naturelle (MHN). Les collections de ces quatre institutions remontent au 16e siècle et représentent une partie fondamentale du patrimoine culturel et scientifique de la Ville de Genève. Se sont rajoutés ensuite la Bibliothèque publique et universitaire (BPU) pour ses collections iconographiques, puis le Fonds municipal d'art contemporain (FMAC). En 2004, l'ensemble des collections patrimoniales de la Ville est donc représenté dans Musinfo.

  References: This paper describes particularly successful application of the CIDOC CRM.
First published in MCN Spectra 24 (1) Spring 1999.
Nick Crofts, Implementing the CIDOC CRM with a relational database
  Contact Person: Nick Crofts

Centre for Archaeology CfA



  References: Keith May, Ontological modelling and Revelation, The Newsletter of the Historic Environment Records Forum, Issue 6 July 2005

Paul Cripps, Anne Greenhalgh, Dave Fellows, Keith May, David Robinson Ontological Modelling of the work of the Centre for Archaeology, September 2004
Available: pdf file (207 Kb),
Also available: The CRM Diagram, pdf file (65 Kb)

  Contact Person: Keith May

Finnish National Callery




Juha Inkari, Aimati Oy, The Finnish National Gallery Database implementation
This presentation describes the use of the CIDOC CRM as guide for good practice for the documentation system at the National Gallery of Finnland, Helsinki. Presented on the 5th
CIDOC CRM SIG, October 26, 2002 in Rethymonon, Crete

  Contact Person: Juha Inkari

The ArchTerra Project


The ArchTerra Progect used the CIDOC CRM as a standard for implementing a database for museum information.

  References: Vassil Vassilev, Ivan Stoev, Bisserka Gaydarska, Stefan Alexandrov, Georgi Nehrizov, Mihail Vaklinov, Museum Information Systems: CIDOC Data Model Implementation in the ArchTerra Project,
Bollettino Del Cilea, Volume 69, 1999
  Contact Person:  



ec(h)o is an "augmented reality interface" utilizing spatialized soundscapes and a semantic web approach to knowledge. It uses the CIDOC CRM model to describe museum artefacts.

  References: Marek Hatala, Leila Kalantari, Ron Wakkary, Kenneth Newby, Ontology and Rule Based Retrieval of Sound Objects in Augmented Audio Reality System for Museum Visitors,
Proceedings of the 2004 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, 14-17 May 2004
  Contact Person:  

The European IST Project I-Mass (IST-1999-20878)


The basis for knowledge representation I-Mass is the ontology or ontological framework that is used to shape the knowledge landscape. Such an ontology models the domain of discourse and, as such, determines in a Wittgensteinian fashion what may [not] be spoken about.
This implies that the ontology must in principle be able to cover the whole cultural domain, and not be restricted to either the so-called "high-culture" of the elite or to the western view on culture. I-Mass is based on the CIDOC-Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC-CRM) for several 'practical' requirements, such as allowing for machine interpretation and minimising semantic completeness.


Geert de Haan, Design for Global Access to Cultural Heritage

Geert de Haan, The Design of I-Mass as a Tool for Interacting with Cultural Heritage. Tools for Digital Interaction, Int. Symposium on ICT 03, 24-26 Sept 2003, Dublin, Ireland.

  Contact Person: Stefano De Panfilis



It uses the CIDOC CRM to define the elements of authority data.

  References: Françoise Bourdon, Modelling authority data for libraries, archives and museums: a project in progress at AFNOR,
Presented at the international conference Authority Control, Definition and International Experience, 10-12 February 2003
  Contact Person:  

Digital Silk Roads Project


The Digital Silk Roads projects refers to using the CIDOC CRM.

  Contact Person:  



The design has also been informed by standards, specifically the ontological thinking incorporated in the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (ISO 21127:2006).


Edmund Lee, Building Interoperability for United Kingdom Historic Environment Information Resources,
D-Lib Magazine June 2005

New from FISH August 2005
  Contact Person: Edmund Lee



The project is going to use the CIDOC CRM for heterogeneous data exchange

  References: Jörn Sieglerschmidt, Digitale Objektdokumentation und Online-Publikation - Verändern
die Informationstechnologien das Sammlungsmanagement der Museen?
  Contact Person:  

References to Potential Use

  1. Anthony Corns, EXPLORER Software to be used within Trinity College Dublin History Department
    16 September 2004


See also CIDOC CRM Core

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Last Updated: 10-12-2014