Issue 580: CRMsoc redefinition of scope

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 

excerpt from the minutes of the 50th CIDOC CRM SIG Meeting: 

DECISION: Given the direction that CRMsoc has taken and the need for a new extension (see issues 419, 420), CRMsoc would be a new document altogether. So, the current draft version (0.1) that is available on the site (documented through issue 412) should close. And the scope of the model should change too -a new text is required.

HW: GB, FB to provide the abstract

Discussions re. the redefinition of the scope of the model, to take place under current issue. 

For some background, here's the link with the presentation by GB and FB from the 50th SIG meeting. 

Current Proposal: 

Post by Francesco Beretta (1 February 2022)

Dear all,

Please find in attachment the homework of George Bruseker and myself concerning "Issue 580: CRMsoc redefinition of scope" for presentation at the next SIG.

All the best,


Post by Martin Doerr (2 February 2022)

Dear Francesco,

I find this text very well written and clear. My only question is, why:

" For facts which are established by convention as opposed to pure spatio-temporal facts,"

I do not see ground in the CRMbase, and the methodology applied, to regard that facts which are described in the CRM are "pure spatio-temporal", even if some of the classes and properties applied may describe only a spatiotemporal confinement. The CRM is very clear that the substance of Temporal Entities is not space-time.

Further, respective facts you describe would be based on human activities, and E7 is defined explicitly as being intentional in substance.

Finally, and most important, there seems to be a misunderstanding of CRM descriptions in general: no classification and properties of the CRM are exhaustive or "pure" in any sense. This is also the major idea behind multiple instantiation, and open world. Describing an item in terms of CRM does not make any statement what else it is not, except for a few definitely disjoint classes.

Since this is a key concept of the CRM, part of the principles, it should be discussed. To my understanding, no extension can be characterized as "opposed to" another, it would violate its logical foundations.

All the best,


Post by Francesco (2 February 2022)

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your message and comments.

The sentence in question is not the happiest, and George and myself were not totally satisfied with the wording but it was necessary to send the homework to the SIG. We can of course reword it and a refomulation that is certainly also not the best one but expresses the same sense could be:

" For facts which are established by convention as opposed to facts observed in an objective manner" or similar.

Take an exemple. I organize a garden party and all my friends and guests are happy. But there's a major difference if I do this privately in 2019 or if I'm a prime minister and there's a COVID pandemic and I just imposed restrictive measures on the whole population of my country. The [objective / spatio-temporal] observed fact is the same, a crm:E5 garden party, but the social 'facts' arount it —my social function, the law establishing that garden parties are not allowed, etc. etc.— add a social overlay to the event which —for humans living in society— changes everything and has totally different consequences. CRMbase is concerned with objective spatio-temporal facts (from E4 Period downward this is the substance of facts : "This class comprises sets of coherent phenomena or cultural manifestations occurring in time and space.")

On the other hand, social facts are situated in another space that could be called the intentional-temporal, that is to say, the space of phenomena specific to human societies observed through the filter of their conventions or collective representations. There is no opposition but a perfect articulation because the social is grafted onto the spatio-temporal (or the physical and biological) but adding an overlay that allows different groups of humans to interpret the same 'objective' fact as being two quite different situations: a totally normal and a big problem.

But I propose to discuss all this, as you proposed earlier, in person at a live, even if digital, meeting.



Post by Martin Doerr (2 February 2022_


" For facts which are established by convention as opposed to facts observed in an objective manner

sure, should be something like the material process characterizing the events, 

Post by George Bruseker (4 February 2022)

Following on this helpful new iteration of the thought by Martin maybe a phrasing like 'in distinction to facts established directly through / at the level  of material physical processes and interactions' is more expressive of the content/intent?

Post by Martin Doerr (4 February 2022)

I think this is much better!.

For me a socially constructed fact is a fact that does not correspond to material interactions, but is based on propositional objects a certain community maintains in an explicit form, typically codified. It is real in the sense that the communication of the information is (must be) observable, and people materially react or are forced by members of the community to react in a specific way in applicable situations. I use to connect the foreseen reactions to activity plans.

It is further important to be very precise and differentiated about the subgroups or individuals formulating, adhering to, accepting, tolerating or enforcing such institutions and the supporting evidence. Even statements about majorities doing anything of this kind in a certain community should not be confused with representing a communities institutions. I think the text should reflect that.

I think  the text should be more clear about the sense of "fact" used, and the modelling work should clearly differentiate particulars "I am married", "getting married" from the institution of "marriage" and a particular definition of "marriage" instituted.  I believe that thinking of any of them being out of space or/and time and detached from the individuals supporting it will create a completely different sense for the link to evidence, basically not comparable. I'd also like to refer to Kant's opinion about the role of space and time in cognition.

I think since evidence in social sciences is much debated and normally statistically justified, well known criticism in the application and validity of statistical reasoning should be taken into account by some form of differentiated position.

Finally, if using conceptual "standards" from particular disciplinary schools, even from a whole discipline, is intended, I'd expect serious considerations about the cultural bias this introduces.

All the best,


Post by Francesco Beretta (5 February 2022)

Dear Martin, George, all,

Reading the lines below has inspired me to make a number of considerations that I would like to share with you in view of the presentation at the SIG meeting next week of CRMsoc.

1. What George and myself will propose stems from a rich modelling and semantic engineering experience used in real research and cultural heritage projects to the satisfaction of the users. I'm referring, on my side, to the Humanities and Social sciences (SDHSS) project providing a high-level extension of the CRM and several other related namespaces devoted to specific subdomains that are already used in data production by about ten different research projects and are based on fifteen years of experience in modelling and semantic engineering in the project. This project allowed collaborative data production to more then 80 research projects from master thesis to projects funded by European research agencies. If interested you can SPARQL the data published by the SIPROJURS project. These are therefore not just abstract philosophical statements, but a modelling methodology that works and produces interoperable and reusable FAIR research data.

2. When we were charged, George and myself, in the SIG meetings in Lyon and Cologne to be the editors of CRMsoc, we knew that we had to reach to our respective trainings and methodologial approaches, the one in social philosophy, the other in social sciences' epistemology, to produce a large enough and robust foundational view of social life as such. If we want to create an extension that is acceptable to a broad spectrum of researchers in the humanities and social sciences, we cannot imagine one personal way or the other, but we must address the standards of the disciplinary communities and create classes and properties that are compatible with the views adoped and information produced by these communities. In other words, it is a question of being understandable, credible and up to date. This demanded a couple of years of considering standard literature and confrontig different points of view, and we have now a robust proposal base on individual/collective intentionality and social representations, as foundation of social facts.

3. To speak of a bias when adopting the standard perspective in contemporary disciplines concerned with social life does not seem to be very careful. It would be like adopting in this issue the celebrated view of Archimedes : "Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world." It is a fact that we humans live in this world, socialise through language and even scientific disciplines, and the so-called objective views, are the result of social conventions. To speak of a constructivist realism is to recognise, on the one hand, that all discourse on reality is the result of a social and methodological construction and, on the other hand, to reaffirm the possibility of operating effectively, using this discourse, on reality. And this view perfectly fits, if carefully considered, to the objectivist approach used in CRMbase.

In conclusion, the proposal we are making is a way of giving us as SIG the opportunity to integrate CRMbase with an extension that meets a recurring and pressing demand from the humanities and social sciences communities, and beyond. I would be very honoured and happy to be able to succeed in this project, and thus improve the integration of CRMsoc with the standard by refining and enlarging it. But it should be considered that this process is happening, and will continue to evolve, anyway. Let's not miss the provided opportunity.


With all my best wishes


Post by Martin Doerr (5 February 2022)

Dear Francesco, George,

Your comments well taken, since we model bottom up, in order to follow, I definitely would like that you present a richer set of instance data to the SIG, and show how you apply SDHSS concepts to such data, once you have a rich and long modeling experience.

"If interested you can SPARQL the data " is not the way to do that. One cannot understand a database by querying in the blind. I think we are all interested in such a presentation. I think this should be the first step for all members that have created CRM extensions and are interested in collaborating with CRM-SIG.

Since you talk about "the humanities and social sciences communities" quite globally, I think you owe us a more substantial report of what groups you experience actually pertains to. Humanities are the core concern of CRM-SIG since the beginning. So, obviously, there must be finer distinctions if CRM-SIG has missed this world so thoroughly.

All the best,


Post by George Bruseker (7 February 2022)

Hi All,


Another part of this homework was to clear up the state of classes that were 'in' CRMSoc under the old definition, being considered to be in or just being bandied about as ideas. The idea is to house clean the whole business so that we can start off anew in the correct direction and also release classes and properties that would now be appropriate to a different extension to be developed there without any confusion.

Attached then is the list of classes and properties that had been talked about in some way or other under the banner of CRMSoc and a suggestion of where they might go or what might become of them.





Post by George Bruseker (10 February 2022)

Hi All,

Here is a link to the folder in the SIG CIDOC CRM Drive for issue 580 containing all the pertinent homework which is:

Scope of CRMSoc
List of Classes and Properties to be redistributed / considered
New Spec doc with initial classes and properties proposed

the last can also be accessed directly here:

All best,


Post by Francesco Beretta (10 February 2022)

Dear All,

In attachment you'll find version 0.2 of CRMsoc that George and myself will present today. Please notice that this is a very first draft.

All the best


Presentation at the 52nd CIDOC CRM & 45th FRBR CRM SIG by Francesco Beretta & George Bruseker (10 February 2022)

slides here

In the 52nd joint meeting of the CIDOC CRM SIG and ISO/TC46/SC4/WG9; 45th FRBR - CIDOC CRM Harmonization meeting; Francesco Beretta and George Bruseker presented the new scope note for CRMsoc -a model for social phenomena. GB linked the presentation to the current state of CRMsoc as it stands now and what remains to be done:

  • overall definition for the model has been provided and shared with the SIG prior to the meeting
  • rather than grouping a number of concepts and constructs that didn’t fit in the CIDOC CRM[base], they grounded the model in social psychology & social philosophy and used salient concepts therein.  
  • social life is a far too complex to model it bottom-up as a whole. Some constructs are proper top-down (they are grounded however in their respective scientific disciplines)

Proposal: to accept the scope as found in the text shared with the SIG and FBs presentation


  • the new scope for CRMsoc is a very interesting domain-specific approach
  • it will not be a priori declared a crm-compatible model, as it assumes a top-down approach (whereas CIDOC CRM and family models are bottom-up, data-driven approaches).
  • its core concepts (f.i. intentionality/mental state, social identity) clash with basic constructs in the CRM universe
  • CRMsoc can be a parallel model, the development of which is endorsed (and closely monitored) by the SIG.

No definitive decision: The general idea is that CRMsoc reuses CRM and also provides constructs for modeling social facts (that are of interest to historians and social scientists). Its status will not be of an official extension to the CIDOC CRM, but a parallel thing. Will be discussed more through the SIG list and at the next SIG meeting.

Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by Francesco Beretta (25 Feb 2022; 12.29 pm)

Dear Martin, dear Franco,

I assume that the same question by Franco (Issue 581) is raised by page 25?

  • " What goes on in our minds or is produced by our minds is also regarded as part of the material reality, as it becomes materially evident to other people at least by our utterances, behavior and products. "
  • " priority of integrating information based on material evidence available for whatever human experience."
  • " The CIDOC CRM only commits to a unique material reality independent from the observer."

Cf. the new proposition below:

As “available documented and empirical material evidence” are regarded all types of material collected and displayed by museums and related institutions, as defined by ICOM[1], and other  collections of things providing evidence about the past, in-situ objects, sites, monuments and intangible heritage relating to fields such as social history, ethnography, archaeology, fine and applied arts, natural history, history of sciences and technology.


It seems to me that these 'fussy' questions raise in fact, once again, the relevant Issue 504 concerning the philosophical underpinnings of CRM.

The consequences of this approach are illustrated by the recently published Sealit project ontology, class: Legal Object Relationship (e.g. property of a ship by some actor): "This class comprises legal object relationships of which the timespan and the state (of these relationships) cannot be observed or documented. We can only observe these relationships through the events that initialize or terminate this state of relationship (starting event and terminating event). "

I'm not sure how many domain experts would agree with this definition because ownership of things, as a fact, is attested in written texts, or even in minds of living persons and expressed in utterances, and these are empirically observable.

The here adopted foundational stance excludes this fact (i.e. property) from being a subclass of E2 Temporal Entity.  Legal Object Relationship is declared as subclass of E1 Entity.

But on page 33 of the CRM documentation we can read: "The more specific subclasses of E2 Temporal Entity enable the documentation of events pertaining to individually related/affected material, social or mental objects that have been described using subclasses of E77 Persistent Item."

I must therefore admit that a careful reader is somewhat confused and that having an extension, such as CRMsoc, providing additional classes to deal with individual intentional and social life, and dealing with mental and social facts as empirically observable, intentional (collective) facts as we propose, could only be an advantage.

This email therefore relates to issues 504 and 580. I'd kindly ask to put it there and add there links to the relevant other issues.

All the best


Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by Athina Kritsotaki (28 Feb 2022; 12.25 pm) -reply to Francesco (25 Feb 2022; 12.29 pm)

Dear Francesco, dear all,

There may be a misunderstanding regarding the class Legal Object Relationship, which I explained in the presentation in the last sig meeting: We defined this class in a sense of a state of ownership of a ship, which is a kind of information that can be inferred (implicit knowledge) and not directly observed – it can be observed by the starting and terminating event of this state. It is like the soc Bond, which describes social/legal relationships that cannot be observed.

We strictly follow the modelling principle which refers that we model from actual information sources that  reveal actual practice- according to the historians of the sealit project, a ship ownership phase is described as a state with the only information documented to be about the ship owner, the shares that may have and the name of the ship, not the dates of this ownership (which is a quite complex phenomenon to observe since a person e.g may possess up to 1/48 of a ship, so you can understand how many ships shares a single person could have in the same time and there is no documented information on the timespan of this shareholding. Additionally, the ownership is used to assign a name to a ship and a ship changes its name under an ownership state. However, additional temporal information on these names under ownership states is not documented in the source – the Ownership phase can be traced by the ship registration activity (that includes timespan information) that initiates it and by the de-flagging, both events that are documented. This is material evidence, coming from the source.  If you open a Lloyd catalogue, you will find this information under ship registration without dates on the owners of the ship.

Another modeling principle that is represented in our decision to leave Legal Object Relationship as a subclass of E1 CRM Entity is that we support the progressive improvement of classification knowledge by IsA hierarchy. Since we don’t have enough knowledge and we support the open world assumption, which means that new evidence may change the classification, we prefer to model the more general (here we classified under E1) and, when we have more precise knowledge by instances on the nature of this Legal Ob.Relationship class, we can progressively specialize and refine the E1 and find the superclass under which Legal Object Relationship fits.

Sealit is a model that is based on data input, it can be refined and improved based on new knowledge, new instances.

I just wanted to explain the logic under which the model was constructed and to prove that it is one of the most representative documentations from material evidence we had, in our experience. So I am a bit confused how this use case supports raising philosophical questions regarding issue 581.


My BRs,


Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by Francesco Beretta (1 Mar 2022; 11.47) -reply to Athina (28 Feb 2022; 12.25 pm) 

Dear Athina,

Thank you for taking of your time and for making explicit the reasons of your modelling choices and methodology.

As University trained historians, we know that the model of the information produced by a project generally depends on the research agenda and the available sources. The model of a project is therefore not an ontology in the sense of a conceptualisation allowing for multi-project interoperability. Even the way of modelling a ship's voyage may change according to the lines of inquiry of different research projects. For this reason, a strict bottom-up modelling methodology in the field of historical research, and more broadly in the social sciences, without foundational analysis, doesn't seem to be the most appropriate way of producing an ontology for the whole portion of reality —a quite relevant portion in the cultural heritage perspective— these disciplines are concerned with.

Regarding the ownership of a ship (, which in French is in some contexts referred to under the technical term 'armement' ( — cf. "registration activity" below), the social fact of ownership is as such and in general —in the sense of ontology— observable. One can ask sailors or informed contemporaries and they will know who the owner of the ship is. There are historical sources, for example correspondence, which attest to the role of shipowners (armateurs) of such and such a person or company, even if we have lost the shipping registers which state the events of taking ownership.

In the Sealit project, a methodological choice or stance was adopted which is certainly legitimate in the project's context, but which one should avoid to generalize stating e.g. that ship ownership is not directly observable, as this would be in contradiction with observable reality. Besides the collective, attested and observable knowledge of ownership, there are, for other subdomains, written statements about it. One has to think of the land registry documents ( which often attest to the social fact of land ownership, or other rights on land, without necessarily knowing where it comes from. These rights are observable and part of reality as evidenced by the recent trials and convictions of climate activists who have occupied and organised unauthorised events at the headquarters of private companies, on the basis of infringement of private property.

So should one intend that social bonds, ownership, etc. are —in general and as such— not observable does not seem to be very prudent, because the fact of generalising a specific method of modelling, whose foundation and epistemological principles have never really been made explicit (in their foundational, philosophical aspects), risks compromising the possibility of adopting such an ontology by entire scientific communities, such as the social sciences, historical sciences, etc., whose objects are precisely related the social facts and immaterial cultural heritage.

I am therefore not at all criticizing the modelling choices of the Sealit project, which are entirely legitimate in the context of the project's model. I would simply caution against implicitly accepting foundational and philosophical modelling principles, such as those we are called to vote on —e.g. the reference to "empirical material evidence" in the context of an ontology (the CRM) that "only commits to a unique material reality independent from the observer"— regarding issues that appear to be merely about innocuous wording, and by far are not, and should actually be once explicitly formulated, discussed and accepted.

It is in this sense that I understand this question, as well as the one raised in issue 581, to fall under issues 504 and 580.

Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by  Martin Doerr (1 Mar 2022; 02.44 pm) reply to Francesco (3 Mar 2022; 11.47 am)

 Dear Francesco,

May I object. I maintain that ownership is not observable. All examples you provided are about memories or documents of acquisition, or about those who claim to know those (who know/have known those) who know. The events of acquisition, in whatever form, are the only one that are observable. This does not require a higher conceptual consideration in the first place. Without counterexample, I cannot follow your criticism.

All the best,


Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by Francesco Beretta (3 Mar 2022; 12.32) -reply to Steve  

Dear Steve,

I fear that it is reality, rather than me, that is the cause of your trouble. "a statement that an instance of Actor at a particular point in time expressed an opinion about the ownership of a vessel" is precisely the observation of a social fact, i.e. the collective belief (or disbelief) that this person is the owner of this ship. I fear that there is no other substance of ownership, as of any other social fact, that collective belief. And this is observable in human statements, be they written down or just oral.

I also fear that denying the status of observation to such an observation is neither a bottom-up approach, nor the integration of databases, nor anything else but an implicit epistemic position presented as indisputable.

Now, because what is indisputable is, by definition, not debatable, I'll stop arguing.

And take the opportunity to wish you a good day


Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by Martin Doerr (3 Mar 07.41 pm) -reply to Francesco Beretta (3 Mar 2022; 12.32 pm) 

Dear Francesco,

I fear no jurisdictional reality will support such undifferentiated positions, without analytical thought about who believes what, based on what, who would accept such believes with which consequences, and what kinds of thing you observe, and how this relates  to the ownership fact.

Steve, as well as I, do not present the term "observable" as an indisputable epistemic position.

We should finally understand that such e-mail exchanges cannot resolve background of years in a single message, and are therefore meaningless, if they expect absolute terms and self-consistence within a single message.

We should finally understand that the term "observable" and the substance of the observed we, Steve, Athina and me, apply, is itself a function of the particular research questions to be answered, as are ALL concepts in the CRM.

Any philosophical agreement on the general meaning of "observable" in has so far failed, as most globally valid definitions of human terms. Paul Feyerabend, in his last writings, expressed the opinion that fundamental human terms must be flexible enough in order to engulf new realities.

When Athina, Steve and me describe the ownership relation as not observable, your first question should not be questioning the prudence, but ask for what sense of "observation" we have applied. This sense, by the way, had publicly be discussed in CRM-SIG, I think in your presence and be well understood, I think, at that time.

The simple question, how someone in this society would prove his ownership of a ship, or being married, would reveal a lot of distinctions that are indisputably necessary for adequate modeling by formal ontologies based on binary logic.

Questioning the bottom-up method is even more counterproductive, because the actual sense of "social belief",  "observable fact" itself, consistent with the data and question to be answered can only be singled out on the base of bottom-up analysis, see, e.g., George Lakoff's excellent analysis of "my true mother".

Any suggestions that this my question ("how do you prove to be married") would be an expression of another simplistic assumption are quite counterproductive for the way CRM-SIG works. This question is an invitation to a methodological exercise.

My personal opinion is, if someone cannot go through at least one such an exercise in all its ramifications ("marriage witness", documents signed by, documents created based on witnessed documents, all documents lost and making claims credible, legislation changing, national archives preserving documents of witnessing legislation, acting like being married, distinguishing religious from secular authority), one can hardly claim doing generic modelling compatible with binary logic, i.e. with "formal" ontologies. Even then, "gray" fuzzy zones may remain, and need to be understood if they will affect seriously recall and precision. It is a time-consuming, exhausting and slow process, inconvenient for many, but at least the product has a reasonable long-term stability and continued extensibility.

The sense of "observability" presented by Steve, Athina and me is the one underlying the concept of being "marriage witness" or being not, as a social fact, sufficiently robust and accepted, in several relevant societies by their authorities and beyond. It is distinct from God being witness. It is distinct from observing an expression of someones opinion, and neither questions the latter, nor the way a historian would use such evidence in constructing a possible or likely past. It is no positivist threat against historical "inferences to the best explanation" from available evidence.

If other societies apply incommensurable concepts for such things, we would need again a careful analysis and understand the reasons. I remind for example David Graeber's very detailed analysis of obligation and the incompatibility of dowry with payments.

Anybody trying other intellectual methods is kindly invited to follow that and then show if it helps answering the respective research questions, to explain the data, and to produce the best automated inferences.



Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by  Martin Doerr (1 Mar 2022; 04.31 pm) reply to Francesco (3 Mar 2022; 12.32 pm)

Please let me further add, that custody in the sense of the CRM is observable. Any legal transition from custody to ownership will again be based on observable proof of custody.

Please also respect that the Sealit model has passed practice test with a huge amount of data under the scrutiny of enough international experts in maritime history from different countries. Following the way we use to argument in CRM-SIG, claims about lack of genericity, or inadequacy for other applications, of any local model as the Sealit model, must always be based on instance data and explicit formulation of the research question not answered.

If the research questions require incommensurable modeling, such as the classical difference between molecular theory and thermodynamics, no theoretical top down framework can unite them. We have successfully tried since 1996 to push the limits of commensurable modeling widely across context and disciplines, by a strict intellectual discipline regarding the kinds of reaserch questions that can be answered correctly. We never excluded the justified existence of incommensurable models.

General claims of incompatibility of domain models circulate since decades. All the enterprise of formal ontologies was to overcome it. No top-down theoretical framework since then has produced a viable result since then. The epistemological insight, which sort of research questions allow for an increasing set of cross-disciplinary compatible models, is the most demanding scientific endeavour of CRM-SIG.

Theoretical understanding is vital also for bottom up modelling. Otherwise, no reasonable candidate constructs can be found. But, no construct, regardless of how abstract, should be accepted without practice test. CRM-SIG is committed to producing international recommendation. If Sealit is in the practical scope of, e.g., CRMsoc, and its research questions, at some point in time, Sealit must be be integrated by practice test.

All the best,


Part of a series of excahanges through the SIG mailing list that were originally part of issue 581 (an evote), repeated here as requested by Francesco Beretta. 

Post by  George Bruseker (1 Mar 2022; 04.41 pm) -reply to Martin Doerr (1 Mar 2022; 04.31 pm) 

Dear all,

Social symbolic events such as acquisitions (not done by force) are also strictly not observable since you can only know that they occur if you share the same social symbolic set and 'conclude' or 'infer' that something has taken place. There is no atomic level at which we see these things and can then say 'and now it is done'! Which atom, at what moment? Of course there are various pieces of evidence you can go looking for and say these are the things you must observe, but it's an obtuse way of looking at things because if you are at the wedding and you are a literate member of the cultural group then you know (barring an evil demon) that when the bride has been kissed (and some books signed) that the event has occured. You 'observed' it.

It is reasonable and natural for how to structure information and how to ask questions to posit an observation acquisition event rather than saying that what is observable is the book, the handshake etc.

This is the same with social institutions. No document need be consulted for an alien anthropologist to land amongst CRM SIG discussion and determine who the leader is. Having read a few background documents about general human culture and observing a set of behaviours amongst a group of people the anthropologist 'observes' M Doerr to be the leader. To say that this is not observable is extremely hard to support (except again if we argue only atomic configurations can be observed). What was observed is not necessarily initiating and ending events (also symbolic, also only knowable beyond physical material evidence), but a number of indicators within a social symbolic system which indicated this to be the case.

It is thus equally natural to say that the social fact is observed although in fact many minute individual observations were made etc. It would be obtuse to ask for these to be listed instead of the fact in the same way it would be for the event because this is not the form of evidence that is typically required in the domain on inquiry.

Francesco points out for the nth time, and I'm not sure why this cannot be heard or acknowledged, that historians usually do not have the kind of evidence you ask for of physical events in space and time that start social states. The historian is not at fault, the historical record is imperfect. It is in this case not for the historian to change his practice but for the ontologist to provide a structure which relates to the kind of reality that the expert tries to describe.

As in observation in the sense of physics, the observer can be wrong.



In the 57th CIDOC CRM & 50th FRBR/LRMoo SIG Meeting, upon discussing the lack of development in the Rigths model (Issue 408), the SIG resolved to reboot this issue. There have reportedly been demands for a stable version of CRMsoc (by MF, GH, & CEO). According to GB, a large block of work is ready and he  can share it with the SIG to be reviewed. 

Revisiting the scope of CRMsoc is extremely relevant to ensure development in other issues that have been on pause because of CRMsoc; namely, 408557586413573)

HW: GH, CEO will be reading the documentation and datasets that support the modeling constructs in CRMsoc and the model as a whole will be reviewed in the spring 2024 meeting. 
Be on the lookout for points of conversion with CRMinfluence. 

Marseille, October 2023

Meetings discussed: