The project involved designing and developing a web application to afford the exploration of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) for documenting cultural heritage phenomena. The project resulted in an application called Glambulator. Glambulator allows the user to browse the classes specified in the CRM, to query an online collection of cultural heritage objects, and to interact with query results as graphs at the instance level. This document describes the larger aims of this project, the product itself, the process by which it was designed and developed, lessons learned, and future directions. A list of references for further reading is also provided.

Glambulator is about exploring the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC-CRM) and phenomena that have been annotated by it. It’s inspired by other applications that afford interaction with RDF resources at the instance level (LodLive) and/or at higher levels of abstraction (WebVOWL). Glambulator is also inspired by firms that propose to enhance supply-chain visibility in the fine art trade, to commercial fishing, or to fashion by committing transactions to a distributed transaction repository – a blockchain.

Information standards like controlled vocabularies, reference models, and ontologies facilitate predicating objects of subjects, making statements about phenomena in some domain. One problem that immediately comes to mind, though, is how to verify any such proposition, especially since attributes impart value. A certificate of authenticity, or some other kind of document issued by an authority serves to verify many statements that happen in everyday life. My state-issued driver’s license, for instance, can undergird my purchase of a six-pack, showing that I have the attribute is of drinking age. Multiple actors can be involved in bringing a heritage object from one point to another, and blockchain technology itself, rather than any third party, has been proposed as a way to verify attributions.

Michael Nelson

2016-2017 CHI Grad Fellow Cohort

MA Student, Department of Media and Information Systems