Issue 494: Scope note guidelines

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 

The ad-hoc CRM SIG Editorial Team of version 7.0, working on issue  Issue 483: 7.0 preparation - CRMbase review for inconsistencies, asked Martin to formulate some guidelines for scope note writting

April 2020

Current Proposal: 

sent  by Martin to editorial team of CIDOC CRM version 7.0 on 12/5/2020

Dear Steve,

Attached my first draft for scope note writing. I have not touched yet the scope notes for properties. There is much less theory about it. Substance and Identity is discussed by David Wiggins in an excellent book. Unity criteria and identity criteria by Nicola Guarino in several papers. There are the old AAT guidelines for scope note writing, which I used from memory. We could try to find them. Existence criteria are rather things I have discussed with Maria Daskalaki. I think the idea is implicit in Wiggin's book.

I'd suggest Steve to rework if adequate, and all of you to comment.

I'll continue with property scope notes.

sent by Martin to editorial team of CIDOC CRM version 7.0 on 20/5/2020

Dear All,

While I am waiting for Steve's comments about the first part of my guidelines, I attach now the draft completed with property scope notes and an Appendix of annotated examples. I have used this to infer the property scope note rules, in lack of more theory. When I tried to add a list of good practice class scope notes, I found them much less disciplined than our property scope notes. This is not a call for massive rewriting, but we may consider some systematic improvements in the future.

At this stage, I am waiting for your feedback before continuing.

Posted by Martin on 15/10/2020

Attached our first trial to provide guidelines for scope note writing. Implicitly, this constitutes a theory what the "intension" of a class is about.

For classes, we base this on related work by Nicola Guarino on identity and unity, and on David Wiggins about absolute identity, and on our own observations in CRM-SIG about the relevance of existence and potential.

For properties, this appears to be new land.

The attached guidelines are also a result of analyzing much debated scope notes in the CRM. However, most scope notes in the CRM text are less analytical and stand improvement. This does not necessarily mean to become more verbose. Multiple aspects proposed in these guidelines may be implicit or obvious in a simple phrase.

Please comment

Post by Martin Doerr (16 June 2021)

Dear All,

This issue has long been discussed internally. Scope note writing is important for all working on extensions of the CRM, locally or those submitted for approval by CRM-SIG.

The meaning to be expressed by scope notes is a distinct center piece of the specific methodology CIDOC CRM SIG applies, and complements rules in formal logic. It basically connects the world the user has in mind with the formal concepts of the model.

Therefore, we would like to present this draft text in the next SIG meeting and invite for a wider review. Since we will not have time to read through the whole text in the meeting, please read this text carefully before the meeting.

All the best,


In the 50th joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and SO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 43nd FRBR – CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting, MD presented his HW (document on how to read scope-notes). 
SIG members thought the text very clear and helpful. It was marked that it is one of the documents that need to be translated in other languages, to help the work of various translation initiatives. 
HW: EC, MR, NG, PR read the text closely and provide feedback

In the 53rd CIDOC CRM & 46th FRBRoo SIG meeting, MD read through the scope-note guidelines document. It has been well-received by the Sig.

Proposal: Implement necessary editing (accept edits on suggest mode by EC, TV, PR), add examples of scope notes that are elaborated with this guideline in mind, and revisit the document in the next meeting
Everyone in agreement

Decision:  Proceed as proposed. The document to be added to the CIDOC repo (in principle, all documents that are collaboratively edited should be put in the CIDOC repo). Once the document has been finalized, it will appear in the “Supplementary Material” (resources section of the site too). 

HW: must be turned in by the end of August -in time for the next Sig meeting.

  • EC to proofread (accept changes and make sure that the text reads nice)
  • MD & CEO to provide with examples of scope notes adhering to said guidelines (E4 Period, properties that motivated this line of work)
  • WS will put the guidelines to the test (use them in producing definitions)


May 2022

16 August 2022 --HW by Martin ready. 

Note by Martin

In this document I describe examples of using the Guideline for Writing Scope Notes. 

  • Below, I first repeat the Guideline.
  • In the Appendix, I show examples from the current CRM version 7.1.  I use highlighting with colors for pointing to the application of the different principles of the Guideline in these scope notes. I prefer this method in order to show that the Guideline does not aim at demanding a structured verbose text, but rather that the author of a scope note has thought about the respective principles and decided that these aspects are either selfevident, non-applicable or sufficiently clear from the created text. 
  • Indeed, many scope notes have not yet been revised thoroughly with respect to the guideline. Wherever I found something missing or being implicit I have added a comment. 

In the 55th joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 48th FRBR/LRMoo SIG meeting, EC informed the SIG of the current state of the document. The Scope note writing guideline, as it now stands forms the result of joint work by EC, MD, TV, PR.  The last editing round has further involved EC, MD, WS, and CEO. 
EC mentioned that the current form of the document can be considered as done (except for a small set of clarifications that are still open in the table of comments) and proposed that they be discussed in a new issue [629] (at least among MD, CEO, WS, TV and RS). 
The version that EC last edited can be uploaded on the CIDOC repo and replace the existing one on the site. 

In the context of issue 476 it was decided that a statement about typed properties should be added to the guideline. 
HW to TV to draft the statement. 


Belval, December 2022

In the 56th joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 48th FRBR/LRMoo SIG meeting, the SIG approved the proposal that the guideline for scope note writing document be published on the website in its last updated form under The Model\Use&Learn\Methodology (see decisions for issue 601


Heraklion, May 2023