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collections anew in a way that fits the ontology.That
is just too much work.'
Kersen thinks the Semantic Web will grow
gradually from the grass roots level onward.Within
the Dutch Digital Heritage Association she can point
at several initiatives. Considered on their own, they
might not seem like much, i.e. in relation to the
gargantuan task of developing a Semantic Web, but
when they are combined a certain pattern begins to
emerge.
There is, for instance, a project, Sitechecker/RDF,
which will look into ways in which RDF can be
used for describing content for Web-based delivery.
Furthermore, several standardisation projects are
running that enable the participating institutions to
develop the description of their specific knowledge
domain, e.g. graphic domain, religion, art history.The
formal and semantic mapping schemes used in these
projects will include Dublin Core, Encoded Archival
Description (EAD), IMS Learning Resources Meta-
data Specification, Art & Architecture Thesaurus as
well as the CIDOC reference model. Kersen: `At the
moment, most of the reference terms are developed
at the level of institutions, which means their use is
limited to a certain domain. Or, to put it another
way, every domain is developing its own dialect.
Maybe the development of a combined reference
scheme will be a step towards a Semantic Web.'
Another important project is the development of
a scheme for description at the collection level in
order to offer a clearer and more hierarchical access
to heritage collections. This project has its roots in
the Dutch project for collection level description,
MUSIP (Museum Inventarisation Project). The
description scheme will be broadened to make it
available for other heritage institutions as well,
for example archives.
The description and results of these projects
and the programme lines will be made available
on the Web site of the Vereniging DEN:
http://www.den.nl. As Cultuurwijzer is used as a
proof of concept, the results will be directly
accessible at http://www.cultuurwijzer.nl. (Kersen
kindly invites interested parties to put questions
directly to their organisation.)
Projects are always carried out in co-operation
with the member organisations. Kersen: `We first try
it ourselves until we are sure it works; a "proof of
concept", you could say. These tests are overseen by
a small group of automation experts working for
our member organisations. The next step is to test
the method on a larger scale with some of our
member organisations. A larger working group
oversees these tests. Only then is the method
released to our member organisations. The
advantage is that smaller member organisations can
ride on the experience of the larger ones. By taking
a step-by-step approach we also enhance the level of
commitment.You could say we are providing some
order in the information chaos that exists on the
Internet. A few small steps along the long road
towards the Semantic Web.'
Vereniging Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland:
http://www.den.nl
Cultuurwijzer: http://www.cultuurwijzer.nl
DigiCULT 13