As a set of recommendations, this deliverable is dedicated to museums that are expected to make their digital resources retrievable on Europeana. We have defined these recommendations by taking into account the reality of their specific technical and economic situation. We can sum up these specificities through three major elements we develop just below: a gap of skills, a lack of financial means, and a misknowledge of the technological environment.
A gap of skills
First of all, we know that there is a gap between the skills of museum people about terminology management and the usual skills required in the technical expert fields of Information Engineering and Linguistics. Ideally, any reader with no expert background in terminology management should be able to understand our recommendations. However, because of the high degree of technicity of the topic, some basic knowledge might be necessary to handle for a good and useful understanding of the recommendations. Thus we have decided to make the recommendations the more easy to understand that we could, and to deliver in the next part of that document a synthesis of all the basic knowledge that the reader is expected to have in mind for the follow-up.
A lack of means
Then, we are also aware of the critical economic situation in cultural institutions. We cannot occult how much any change in terminology use may have a significant impact on the financial state of any structure since a costly effort is then expected to be made. Thus we have defined the recommendations taking into account economic difficulties and constraints so that the museums may be able to handle all the required operations in terminology management in the perspective of Europeana. This deliverable, as it is dedicated to non-expert readers, participates to that idea since museums should not call an external competency to read, to understand and to apply what it is recommended in.
A misknowledge of the technological environment
Finally we emphasize the fact that a lot of museums do not seem sensibilized to their current technological environment. The unavoidable evolution of the Web has a strong impact on the way how institutions have to manage their data. This evolution occurs under the influence of the different new technologies, norms and standards in use, and it is particularly co-dependent of the evolution of the massive Web usages. Because we consider that this misknowledge may produce important difficulties and misunderstandings, we give below a presentation of the key ideas featuring the current technological environement and its evolution.
N.B.: Other people in general can find here some information about terminology in the cultural sector. This Wiki brings together some documents, guidelines and recommendations on terminology management and multilingualism. It gives a special focus on thesauri, multilingual issues and SKOS which is the standard recommended to enable semantic interoperability.
Optimization and compliancy
Our recommendations take into account the recipients' point of view, that is, your background, objectives and interests as a museum representative.
First, regarding your background, as we have already said previously, we aim to state our recommendations in a manner intelligible by non-experts since we consider you have other skills than those of Information Engineering and Linguistics. In the rest of this deliverable, we keep phrasing things in the same way so that you shall understand and apply what we propose to you. If you need to check if you are aware of the general information to have in mind before reading the recommendations, see the section about terminology and terminology management.
Then, regarding the objectives, our recommendations shall enable you to be compliant with Europeana requirements. But that objective is very minimal since, when you look at these official requirements, today you just need to use SKOS as an interoperability format to fit with the portail constraints for the semantic exploitation of your digital resources descriptions.
Thus finally we also look at your interests by writing these recommendations. Indeed you can do more than SKOSifying your terminology in our context without spending too much money and time. There are several "cheap" operations you can do on your terminology which will certainly improve the semantic exploitation of your digital resources on Europeana, right now, but most of all in the future. In this spirit, all our recommendations must help you optimize their retrievability by a Semantic Search Engine on Europeana.
Approach in three steps
We have structured our set of recommendations in three steps in order to simplify their presentation and their understanding. Each of this step brings elements for making your terminology compliant with and optimized for the semantic-exploitation requirements of Europeana.
The first step is about the conception of your terminology. So to say, at this stage you manage your terminology "internally" in order to make a thesaurus in a human perspective. We present you different operations you can do on your own to build a new terminology or to adapt the one you already use in order to optimize your digital resources descriptions on Europeana. These operations have to be done in priority since they determine the two other steps.
Then the second step consists in making your terminology interoperable. Now you go out of the museum when you SKOSify your terminology by taking into account the machine perspective. This is the specific part about the connection which enables you to make the relationship between the datamodel and your semantic descriptions. For the time being, SKOS is mandatory by Europeana. Thus we particularly focus on that specific format.
Finally we address you our last recommendations as they concern the networking of your terminology with others. At this last stage you think of being visible in Europe in a network perspective by integrating your terminology in a network of SKOSified Thesauri. This will be considered as the third and last step of our set of recommendations.
We invite you to start right now the step by step process by going to the next step: creation or refinement of your terminology.
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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.