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A: Conceive your terminologyA1: Define your domainsA2: Identify your users' expectationsA3: Define your connection with the datamodelA4: Choose your termsA5: Organize your terms into a thesaurus structureA6: Find equivalent terms in other languagesA7: Implement your thesaurusB8: Validate your SKOSification


Identify for all the users of your semantic descriptions which expectations they have by using them. You can answer the following questions:

  • Which kind of people shall use your semantic descriptions? (e.g. art amateurs, specialist academics, scientific students)
  • What are the main interests of these users in accessing to your collections? (e.g. entertainment, research)
  • Are these people expecting expert descriptions? Which terms are they using to query your collection domains?
  • In regards with these expectations, which kind of licence are you ready to allow? Do you agree to allow a professional free use of your future thesaurus?


The objective of this step is to prepare the choice of your terms of description (task A4: Choose your terms). The idea is to understand what terms the users will spontaneously search in a Web request, and what other terms they should use if they want to be very accurate.

Think your terminology as general-user-oriented to fit with the expected request. Because Europeana is a portal for accessing to the collections data, earlier the point of view of who is accessing is taken into account, the more efficient the portal should be. Most of time, requests will not be expressed by professionals, but by the general public. It means the Europeana meta-terminology does comply with what the general public is "functionally" expecting. If your candidate thesaurus has natively been designed in the same perspective, we can guess that it will bring some relevant results on the portal. Thus we recommend you designing thesauri by considering the skills, habits and expectancies of the general users than the professionals as well. It means both two approaches can be considered in the meantime as complementary: 1/ the "bottom- up" approach consists in starting from the needs and habits of the professionals to determine the terminology; 2/ the "top-down" approach on the contrary in coming from the specificities of the access and research by the general users.

Regarding the licence for your terminology use, you have to know your legal environment before any choice. What kind of use your institutions is used to allow and under which conditions? It is important to face the point right now even if you will effectively declare the licence at step C1: Definition of the metadata describing your terminology.

You can refine this step and consider it as completed when, after the step A4: Choose your terms, a set of test-users can say for each term what type of precise request it refers to or by analysing the query words that have been used to search your collections.

For example

For a collection about underwater archaeology, you may have identified at least two different types of users' expectations:

  • General request about spectacular discoveries (e.g. sunk boats, antic ruins felt down in the see): namely to know locations, dates of discoveries, native ages of what has been found, people who have discovered
  • Accurate scientific search about investigations: namely to know contexts of the missions, protocols of discovery and datation, hypotheses and arguments

So you better know which kind of informationyour terminology has to provide. Then, since you consider that the use of your own descriptorsfor the description of other collections can foster the visibility of your digital resources,you can decide to licence your terminology under a Creative Commons Licence CC-By:-Share alike (the user can use your descriptors without any modification and with mentioning your institution as author of the terminology).

Methods and tools:

In order to know better the users' expectations, you can at least make two simple surveys and mix their results:

  • First a survey consisting in asking the visitors of your physical collections and exhibitions (e.g. ask them if they would be interested in virtual tools for a use in the museum or anywhere else online; and for those who are interested, ask them which kind of request they could do)
  • A second survey from the statistics of your own museum website (e.g. what term are often used to access to your collection pages)


We invite you to pursue the step by step process by going to the next step: A3: Define the connection with the datamodel.

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The different tasks we detail are:

  • A1: Define your collection domain(s)
  • A2: Identify your users' expectations about your semantic descriptions
  • A3: Define your connection with the datamodel
  • A4: Choose the terms for the semantic description of your digital resources
  • A5: Organise your terms into a thesaurus structure
  • A6: Find equivalent terms in other languages
  • A7: Implement your thesaurus

You can also navigate through the recommendations by using the synoptic map below. This map will be available on each page of the recommendations process. In order to know the name of a step in particular, just rollover and stay a bit on the very box so that the name appears.

A: Conceive your terminologyB: Make your terminology interoperableC: Link your terminology to a networkA1: Define your domainsB1: Evaluate how far SKOS is compliant with your main featuresC1: Definition of metadata on your terminologyA2: Identify your users' expectationsB2: Roughly SKOSify your thesaurusC2: Identification of resources for mappingA3: Define your connection with the datamodelB3: Define with precision the labels expressing conceptsC3: Mapping with other resourcesA4: Choose your termsB4: Identify your conceptsC4: Validation of the interoperabilityA5: Organize your terms into a thesaurus structureB5: Map your conceptsA6: Find equivalent terms in other languagesB6: Map your termsA7: Implement your thesaurusB7: Ensure the documentation of conceptsB8: Validate your SKOSification
This page was last modified on 3 June 2011, at 09:12.This page has been accessed 23,577 times.