Submission date: 
27 April 2022

This document serves as the definition of the SSHOC Reference Ontology (SSHOCro, v.1.0). SSHOCro proposes an ontological model and RDF schema to be used as a top-level ontology for organising knowledge and information found distributed across various primary sources of information in the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC).

SSHOCro aspires to provide a semantic interoperability framework for the description of the SSHOC data lifecycle, by offering a conceptual model that can be used to (re)describe at a generic level the real-world lifecycle of creating, finding, and using data–amongst other actions–as it takes place in the various domains of Social Sciences and Humanities. In practical terms, the use of such a model and schema for the research community is twofold: it can be applied as a standard to be used in the step of devising and implementing a metadata capture scheme for tracking the data lifecycle in individual projects, institutions, and disciplines; it can also be used to map, transform and integrate existing data across projects, institutions and disciplines into interoperable pools of information for reuse and exploitation. In this context, keeping track of the processes involved in the data lifecycle amounts to associating each stage with a set of activities performed within it.

SSHOCro is modelled as an extension of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC CRM), the standard ontology for Cultural Heritage data, from which it inherits its event-centric orientation and bottom-up approach. CIDOC CRM provides a common and extensible semantic framework that any procedural information can be mapped to. Instances of the CIDOC CRM model can be merged to huge meaningful networks of knowledge about historical facts and contextual relationships (Doerr M., 2003) (ICOM/CIDOC CRM SIG, 2019). The CIDOC CRM model is intended to be a common language for domain experts and implementers to formulate requirements for information systems and to serve as a guide to good practice for conceptual modelling. In this way, it can provide the "semantic glue" needed to mediate between different sources of information, such as that published by museums, libraries and archives.

The development of SSHOCro has further been informed by the output of the mappings of its beta version (v.1.1.3) to well-documented standards used in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH)–namely the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and the Component Metadata Infrastructure (CMD)I. For more details with respect to the selection criteria and the actual mappings both at schema and instance level, the reader can consult SSHOC Deliverable, D4.19; also (Rasmussen & Blank, 2007; Windhouwer et al, 2012), Since then, a number of mappings with SSHOCro have been undertaken at a schema level, to ensure its the semantic interoperability with the data models describing outputs of the SSHOC Project; and in particular, the data models developed for SSHOC-MP as documented in SSHOC D7.1 Barbot et al.(2019) and SSHOC D7.2 (Ďurčo et al. 2021) and for the SSHOC Conversion Hub (SSHOC format interoperability solutions services) as documented in SSHOC D3.6 (Kleemola et al., 2021). Last but not least, validation of the model has come from the work performed by T5.7 Open Linked Data. Archaeology 

Case Study, as reported in SSHOC D5.17 (Schmidle et al., 2020) and in the SSHOC archaeological case study Workshop – The Roman theatre in Catania from survey to interactive 4D visualization, in May 2021.1 The processes referred to, the sequence in which they take place, the documentation of their input and output information all match the stages of the research workflow referred to by SSHOCro.

The SSHOCro is provided in RDF/S in the SSHOCro_v.1.0.rdf, which is attached to this report. The ontology formalisation in RDF/S (RDF Schema) was created in order to enable the use of the ontology in a wide range of applications accessing registries and knowledge bases.

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