Linked Heritage Glossary

This is the glossary of LH project


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Persistent identifier

Persistent identifiers (PIDs) can refer to all the information associated with a real object, including its location, or to any of its potential surrogates, e.g. digital images, a museum collection where it belongs, research documents referring to it and other services. PIDs may be applied to real objects as well as to more abstract concepts like services, transformation issues, aggregation or disaggregation of objects and organizations.

PID functional requirements are the following: uniqueness, persistency, resolvability, reliability, authoritativeness, flexibility, interoperability and cost effectiveness.

Noted persistent identifier systems include: Archival Resource Keys (ARKs), Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURLs), Uniform Resource Names (URNs), and Extensible Resource Identifiers (XRIs)

Explore further the Linked Heritage learning objects: Persistent Identifier: What if? and Persistent Identifiers: Commercial and heritage views.

See also: Interoperability


A preview, or thumbnail preview image, is a reduced size or length audio and/or visual representation of content, in the form of one or more images, text files, audio files, and/or moving images.

Explore further the Linked Heritage learning object MINT Services and, for Europeana purposes, the document Europeana Portal Image Policy.

See also: Content, Content provider, Data Exchange Agreement (DEA), Data set, Digital object

Private sector

In the context of the Linked Heritage Project, by private sector (interchangeable with commercial sector) it is meant any organisations involved in creating and selling a media product such as: book publishing, recorded music, film and tv, photography.

Work package 4 (WP4) Public Private Partnership (WP Leader: EDItEUR, United Kingdom) was entitled to investigate the potential for including commercial products in the Europeana Portal, adding the gift shop to European Union's GLAM Web sites, and to explore the state of the art in the management of metadata in the private sector (For further information, see: Linked Heritage: outline of the work packages).

Explore further the Linked Heritage learning objects: Public-Private Partnership with Europeana and Why and how to contribute to Europeana.

Public domain

By public domain it is meant any content, metadata or other subject matter not protected by Intellectual Property Rights and/or subject to a waiver of Intellectual Property Rights (See: DEA, Art. 1 Definitions).

Europeana has worked with Creative Commons to develop a simple mark that indicates that a work is in the public domain - the Public Domain Mark (PDM). Note that PDM and CC0 Public Domain Dedication state different rights: PDM can be applied to objects that are not subject to copyright either because copyright has expired (e.g. the author died many years ago) or because the object was never subject to such rights and is therefore in the public domain; the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication can be applied to objects or data that is subject to copyright but where the rights holder wants to waive the rights and dedicate the object to the public domain. It can only be applied by the rights holder or someone who is authorised by the rights holder. CC0 is specifically designed for use with (meta) data sets and is unlikely to be used as a rights statement describing content. In the context of Europeana, CC0 is primarily used to ensure that metadata can be used without any restrictions. The CC0 waiver is automatically applied to all metadata that is being provided to Europeana.

Explore further: Europeana and the Public Domain

See also: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication, Data Exchange Agreement (DEA)


Resource Description Framework (RDF)

Resource Description Framework, in short RDF, is a family of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specifications originally designed as a metadata data model. It has come to be used as a general method for conceptual description or modeling of information that is implemented in web resources, using a variety of syntax notations and data serialization formats.

RDF is based on the principle of object and subject and the relation between them. The relation is a predicate. Object, subject and predicate are RDF triples. SKOS, developed to express knowledge information systems such as controlled vocabularies and exchangeable in RDF, is completely built on triples.

Explore further the Linked Heritage learning object: Terminology.

See also: OWL, Semantic Web, SKOS

Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS)

SKOS or Simple Knowledge Organization System is a formal data model developed by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to enhance linked open data in the (semantic) web. It is a standard that translates knowledge information systems such as thesauri, classification systems etc. in RDF-triples (SKOS/RDF). Controlled vocabularies structure information via hierarchical, equivalence and associative relations and contain scope notes, translations and other additional information on specific terms. This information can be made accessible on the web when the controlled vocabulary is converted to SKOS. In SKOS the term and all the information it contains is expressed in URIs. This is why in SKOS they are called concepts. In a controlled vocabulary, the term is important, whereas in SKOS, the URI is important. URIs form the basis of linked data on the web.

Conversion to SKOS requires some technical knowledge of RDF and SKOS. This is why the Linked Heritage and AthenaPlus projects developed a Terminology Management Platform (TMP), an open-source tool where controlled vocabularies can be imported and link them to other resources using SKOS.

Explore further the Linked Heritage learning objects: Terminology and Linking Cultural Heritage Information.

See also: Controlled vocabulary, Linked data, Linked open data, Resource Description Framework (RDF), Semantic Web, Terminology Management Platform (TMP)



Standards help to make life simpler and to increase the reliability and the effectiveness of many goods and services we use. Standards are created by bringing together the experience and expertise of all interested parties such as the producers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators of a particular material, product, process or service." To the advantages given above delivering interoperability can be added.

Standards typologies comprise the following:

1: De facto: standards not formally recognised by a standards setting body, but widely used and recognised by the sector using them as a standard
2: De iure: standards formally recognised by a standards setting body (e.g. ISO). They are developed by the common consent of a group of interested parties, with no one party being dominant. They can take a significant amount to time to develop and establish, sometimes leading to them being over-taken by technological developments
3: In-house: standards developed and used in a particular organisation, for a particular purpose (e.g.: a local place name terminology)
4: Community: standards developed by a set of organisations in the same sector for use within that sector (e.g.: the UK museum documentation standard SPECTRUM developed and mantained by Collection Trust)
5: National: standards developed for use within a single country and recognised at a national level (e.g.: nationally standards terminologies)
6: International: standards recognised and used throughout the world, nearly always approved by an international standards setting body (e.g. ISO 8601 - Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times is an international standard for date and time).

Note that for some standards it is possible for them to begin as one type and then, with further work and taking part in an approval process, become another type. For example the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM), was originally developed by the CIDOC Documentation Standards Working Group, as a community standard; it is now an ISO standard (ISO 21127:2006). Another type of standard is the open standard.

Source: ATHENA WP3 (2011), Digitisation: standards landscape for european museums, archives, libraries, pp. 7-12

See also: Interoperability, ISO, ISO norm


Generally speaking, terminology refers to the study of words and how they are used. In the context of the Linked Heritage Project, the term terminology stands for a general concept for different types of controlled vocabularies: simple list of terms, glossary, classification and taxonomy, thesaurus, ontology and so on. The type of vocabulary is highly connected to its purpose (indexing, information retrieval systems, translation, ...). To make terminologies interoperable and optimize their exploitation on the Web, specifically in the so called Semantic Web, terminologies need to use controlled vocabularies, to be published in SKOS/RDF formats, to be mappable to other terminological resources.

Explore further the Linked Heritage learning object: Terminology.

See also: Controlled vocabulary, Interoperability, Resource Description Framework (RDF), Semantic Web, SKOS, Terminology Management Platform (TMP)

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