Issue 293: How to determine observable entities?

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 

Posted by Martin on 7/10/2015

Dear All,

Following todays discussion about business transactions we'll report later, it appears that the examples of E54 are not consistent:

E54 Dimension

Subclass of:         E1 CRM Entity

Scope note:         This class comprises quantifiable properties that can be measured by some calibrated means and can be approximated by values, i.e. points or regions in a mathematical or conceptual space, such as natural or real numbers, RGB values etc.

An instance of E54 Dimension represents the true quantity, independent from its numerical approximation, e.g. in inches or in cm. The properties of the class E54 Dimension allow for expressing the numerical approximation of the values of an instance of E54 Dimension. If the true values belong to a non-discrete space, such as spatial distances, it is recommended to record them as approximations by intervals or regions of indeterminacy enclosing the assumed true values. For instance, a length of 5 cm may be recorded as 4.5-5.5 cm, according to the precision of the respective observation. Note, that interoperability of values described in different units depends critically on the representation as value regions.

Numerical approximations in archaic instances of E58 Measurement Unit used in historical records should be preserved. Equivalents corresponding to current knowledge should be recorded as additional instances of E54 Dimension as appropriate.


§  currency: £26.00

§  length: 3.9-4.1 cm

§  diameter 26 mm

§  weight 150 lbs

§  density: 0.85 gm/cc

§  luminescence: 56 ISO lumens

§  tin content: 0.46 %

§  taille au garot: 5 hands

§  calibrated C14 date: 2460-2720 years, etc

An instance of E54 should for instance be : "silver cup 232 height (E54)" as in P40. 

Current Proposal: 

In the 36th joined meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9 and the 29th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, the crm-sig discussed about the comment of the last meeting that an instance  of the dimension is NOT the unit and amount but the  actual dimension of a thing, assigned HW to GB to propose new examples by Thursday. Also it is mentioned that currently E16 Measurement can be used for measuring an instance of E1 CRM Entity BUT this is inconsistent with S4 Observation.O8 observed: S15 Observable Entity which is narrower since S4 Observation is superclass of E16 Measurement. Current definition of E16 Measurement gives unintended models. This incompatibility could be resolved by moving  S15 Observable Entity  in CIDOC CRM core. The sig assigned HW to MD, CEO, Oyvind to work on this issue. MD will make proposal. Must consider what is not observable. To be considered at next SIG

Heraklion, 1/8/2016

posted by George on 21/10/2016

Homework 293.a

Examples for Dimension

The 250 metric ton weight of the Luxor Obelisk

The 5.17 m height of the statue of David by Michaelangelo

The 530.2 carats of the Great Star of Africa diamond

The AD1262-1312, 1303-1384 calibrated C14 date for the Shroud of Turin

The 33 m diameter of the Stonehenge Sarcen Circle

The 755.9 foot length of the sides of the Great Pyramid at Giza

In the 37th joined meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9 and the 30th   FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, the crm-sig accepted the examples provided by GB. It remain open the homework assignment of MD,CEO,Oyvind about moving S15 Observable entity to CIDOC CRM.

Berlin, December 2016

Posted by Christian Emil on 29/3/2017

Dear all,

I attach a ppt with diagrams

1)  Current situation in CRM and CRMSci​

2)  New Exx Observable Entity  in CRM moved from CRMSci

3)  New Exx Observable Entity in CRM and a possible CRMSci simplification
4)  New Exx Observable Entity – CRM adjustment
5)  Summing uo


Posted by Martin  on 29/3/2017

dear Christian-Emil,

Very nice! I only would put in slide 5 Observation between Measurement and E13,
and "measured" under "observed".

I think necessarily Measurement must be seen as a special case of Observation.

Posted by Christian Emil on 29/3/2017

It is ok. In the pure crm it is as today. When crm is extended with crmsci or when dealing with pure crmsci observation is put "in between".

Posted by Christian Emil on 30/3/2017

Here is an adjusted version with Martin's comments included.

Posted by Martin on 30/3/2017


Can you put it on a server, and send the link to the list?

Posted by Christian Emil on 30/3/2017

Dear all,


Please find my homework as a  ppt with diagrams​:

​​Main points:

1)  Current situation in CRM and CRMSci​

2)  New Exx Observable Entity  in CRM moved from CRMSci

3)  New Exx Observable Entity in CRM and a possible CRMSci simplification

4)  New Exx Observable Entity – CRM adjustment
5)  Summing up


In the 38th joined meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9 and the 31st FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, the crm-sig decided that it is needed to study carefully which of the currently proposed classes to fall under observable entity satisfy the observability criterion (observability  implies falsifiability by empirical means). The definition of observable entity should be clarified and it should be found what is not observable. Also consistency with CRMinf should be achieved. Homework assigned to Oyvind, Steve, George, CEO

Heraklion, April 2017

Posted by martin on 3/10/2017

Dear All,

My opinion about "observable entities" is the following:

A) An observation observes a Situation, in the sense defined previously: A set of property instances holding at some time.

B) S4 Observation is a special case of Observation in CRMInf, a single property observation

C) "observable situations" should be: 1) observable relations between Observable Entities, 2) Observable qualities of Observable Entities 3) Dimensions of Observable Entities.

D) Given that, there is a constraint to the domain or range of any property instance observed to be an "Observable Entity".

Then, we can identify Events, Material Substantials and Symbolic Objects(via carrier) to be observable. Measuring water or atmospheric properties could be identified as measuring "the atmosphere" constraint to a particular place. In that case, we would need a spatiotemporal container for the Situation, not only a temporal one.

I would not like to introduce the Material Substantial into CRM"base".

We can generally declare that Observable Entities do have Dimensions, as a special case of what is observed.

Then we may engage in identifying properties with a "observable" substance, such as structural properties.


Posted by Maria Daskalaki on 5/10/2017

Dear All, 

I generally agree with Martin, 

Material Substantial has metaphysical connotations since it is diffucult to speak about the "matter" initself without the mediation  of a subject-person who observes. that is why it is better to use the term "phenomenon" and not "matter" or thing in itself. it may be the case that all the observes agree upon the "substantial Matter" of a thing but that daes not mean that we really have directly access to it.

In the 41st joined meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9 and the 34th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, the sig decided to change the name of this issue  to "How to determine observable entities". We will continue on this, when we will have finished the definition of  dimension (issue 347).

Lyon, May 2018

In the 43rd joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 36th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, narrowing down the discussion of Observable entities to their actual dimensions –the latter cast in terms of ranges –permits to model positions in time not only of static but also of dynamic (i.e. evolving) phenomena. The sig is to carry on this line of work.
HW: AK is assigned with gathering information on the ways to obtain different kinds of measurement: 
•    space
•    time
•    static things
•    continua (things like the water flow, the tide, the speed of the wind, etc.)

Heraklion, March 2019

Posted by Athina on 3/6/2019

here you may find related information   gathered from Ingeoclouds project 

In the 44th joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 37th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting,the sig reviewed the HW by AK on measurements of observable entities. For want of more context, it was impossible to reach a decision. 
HW: AK and MD are to explain this HW to the sig (preferably over the next in-person meeting, unless they think this can be achieved through email exchange) 


Paris, June 2019

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