A challenge for historical research: making data FAIR using a collaborative ontology management environment (OntoME)

Tracking #: 2523-3737

Francesco Beretta

Responsible editor: 
Special Issue Cultural Heritage 2019

Submission type: 
Full Paper
This paper addresses the issue of interoperability of data generated by historical research and heritage institutions in order to make them re-usable for new research agendas according to the FAIR principles. It outlines a methodological approach allowing to integrate data stemming from different lines of inquiry and belonging to different epistemological levels. After introducing the symogih.org project’s ontology, it proposes a description of the essential aspects of the process of historical knowledge production. It then develops an epistemological and semantic analysis of conceptual data modelling applied to factual historical information, based on the foundational ontologies Constructive Descriptions and Situations and DOLCE, and discusses the reasons for adopting the CIDOC CRM as a core ontology for the field of historical research, but extending it with some relevant, missing high-level classes. Finally, it shows how collaborative data modelling carried out in the ontology management environment OntoME makes it possible to elaborate a communal fine-grained and adaptive ontology of the domain, provided an active research community engages in this process. With this in mind, the Data for history consortium was founded in 2017 and promotes the adoption of a shared conceptualization in the field of historical research.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
Anonymous submitted on 06/Jul/2020
Review Comment:

The new version implements my previous comments, so it is acceptable.

Review #2
Anonymous submitted on 18/Aug/2020
Review Comment:

This manuscript was submitted as 'full paper' and should be reviewed along the usual dimensions for research contributions which include (1) originality, (2) significance of the results, and (3) quality of writing.

The paper had been significantly improved in the current submission and sufficiently addresses the comments and the remarks pointed out in the first review round. In its current version it offers a clear insight to the proposed approach and makes a contribution to the research community. The article goals are clearly presented and the proposed method is both original and interesting. A well-written paper.

Review #3
Anonymous submitted on 30/Aug/2020
Minor Revision
Review Comment:

This paper presents a long term research work about using ontology and semantic data in History.

In the first part, the authors presents the Symogih conceptual model for history, with objects and knowledge units (KU).
Objects are "objective facts" and KU enable users to describe knowledge about such objects according to specific points of view. In particular, KU can be used to describe information extracted from sources such as documents.
Hence, knowledge units can be seen as viewpoints on objects.
The authors compare their approach with the Factoid model which is another model used in history. They also compare their approcah with the CIDOC CRM model for museum, the top level DOLCE ontology and the Descriptions and situations ontology.

In a second part, the authors present the Data for History consortium and the OntoME software environment to manage ontologies in history domain.
The tool includes the CDOC CRM model as well as other models such as Opentheso.
The tool provides features to perform alignment among models. It also provides features to extend existing models to adapt them for history.
This is part of ongoing work in the history domain to provide an ecosystem for ontologies and semantic data.


You may write a sentence to explain why the OntoME system relies on a SQL database instead of a triple store.

"This relevant but complex issue will be discussed in this paper as it is not its focus."
will *not* be discussed (?)

perspecive -> perspective

ridiscribed -> rediscribed (two occurrences)

relathionships -> relationships

the union of a *men* and a woman -> man

would become blurred and be *depent* on the research agenda
dependent (?)

"allow experts to directly inspect namespaces in Protégé"
Explain in one sentence what "inspect namespaces" means. In the Semantic Web a namespace is an URI...

"reference namespaces control"
same remark as above

A dashboard allows to filter
A dashboard allows *someone* to filter

Users have different *editings* rights