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Swiss Art Research Infrastructure (SARI)

Building a Semantic Foundation for Architectural Data Integration

This project addresses the question of conceptual modelling in the field of art and architectural history and takes the modelling of architecture as its use case. The objective is to create basic conceptual reference models for expressing art historical data as semantically enriched, linked open data. By this, the project aligns with the newest challenges and developments that digital humanities, in particular digital visual studies and art history, are facing internationally. For research institutions to offer linked open data to specialists and the public too, in a sustainable and accessible manner requires the adoption of explicit conceptual models for representing and querying data. The process of knowledge engineering analyzes the basic terms of a disciplinary field, in order to come up with conceptual models that enable the common representation and querying of a body of knowledge in a standardized fashion. The proposed conceptual modelling project will provide fundamental elements of the reference model for the semantic representation of art history, with a particular focus on architecture, which offers particularly complex ontological layers. Indeed, we focus on architecture in order to pick a subject a) entailing considerable challenges for the conceptual representation (the nature of architecture and how it changes over time pose particular problems), b) with a deep interdisciplinary component, and c) with unique relevance for a digital society (documenting cultural heritage etc.). The resulting conceptual modelling will produce reusable patterns for art history and other fields of visual arts.