What is the CIDOC CRM?

The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) provides definitions and a formal structure for describing the implicit and explicit concepts and relationships used in cultural heritage documentation.

The CIDOC CRM is intended to promote a shared understanding of cultural heritage information by providing a common and extensible semantic framework that any cultural heritage information can be mapped to. It is intended to be a common language for domain experts and implementers to formulate requirements for information systems and to serve as a guide for good practice of conceptual modelling. In this way, it can provide the "semantic glue" needed to mediate between different sources of cultural heritage information, such as that published by museums, libraries and archives.

The CIDOC CRM is the culmination of over 10 years work by the CIDOC Documentation Standards Working Group and CIDOC CRM SIG which are working groups of CIDOC. Since 9/12/2006 it is official standard ISO 21127:2006.

Who we are

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 has been accepted as working draft by ISO/TC46/SC4 in September 2000. Since 9/12/2006 it is official standard ISO 21127:2006.


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