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Information retrieval

Information retrieval is the activity of obtaining information using information retrieval systems. These systems can be collection databases, library indexing files, web browsers etc. Searches can be based on metadata or on full-text (or other content-based) indexing. Studies on information retrieval focus mainly on the effectiveness of applications specifically developed for information management and retrieval, such as controlled vocabularies in databases.


A process by which a digital object or metadata dataset is absorbed by a different system that the one that produced it.

In the context of the Linked Heritage Aggregation, the technological platform MINT Services functions as ingestor. Linked Heritage content providers can upload their datasets in XML or CSV serialization, from personal computers or using the HTTP, FTP and OAI-PMH protocols.

Explore further the Linked Heritage learning object: MINT Services.


Intellectual property rights (IPR)

The term "Intellectual Property Rights" (IPR) refers to the legal rights granted with the aim to protect the creations of the intellect. These rights include Industrial Property Rights (e.g. patents, industrial design rights and trademarks) and Copyright (right of the author or creator) and Related Rights (rights of the performers, producers and broadcasting organisations) (See: The European IPR Helpdesk).

See also: Data Exchange Agreement (DEA)


Interoperability is the ability of the systems, procedures and culture of an organisation to be managed in such a way as to maximise opportunities for exchange and re-use of information, whether internally or externally. When organizations use the same set of rules for a certain activity, they can inter-operate or work together more efficiently (e.g. for creating mutual information systems such as online catalogues).

Paul Miller further divides interoperability into 6 types:

1: Technical interoperability – Facilitated by using common technical standards (e.g. file types, metadata, etc.).

2: Semantic interoperability – Facilitated by using common vocabularies for the terminologies used in data (e.g. thesauri).

3: Political/Human interoperability – Facilitated by understanding and overcoming the barrierscaused by the different experiences and agendas of users and information providers

4: Inter-community interoperability – Facilitated by recognising differences between discipline communities and overcoming them by working together (e.g. Museums, archives and libraries)

5: Legal interoperability – Facilitated by following the legal restraints imposed on informationproviders (e.g. Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation)

6: International Interoperability – Facilitated by recognising and overcoming the barriers caused by cultural and linguistic differences.

Source: Helen Ashby – Gordon McKenna – Matthew Stiff. SPECTRUM Knowledge. London: MDA, 2001, p. 63 in ATHENA WP3 (2011), Digitisation: standards landscape for european museums, archives, libraries, p. 13.

See also: ISO, ISO norm, Standard


ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. It is the world's largest developer of voluntary international standard composed of representatives from various national standards organisations.

International standards give state of the art specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective. Developed through global consensus, they help to break down barriers to international trade.

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organisation promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Since then ISO has published more than 19,500 international standards covering almost all aspects of technology and business.

See also: Interoperability, ISO norm, Standard

ISO norm

ISO norms are created by the International Organization for Standardization. The organization has published more than nineteen thousand international standards covering all aspects of technology and business. The standards are developed by topic, such as information and documentation. They are written and supervised by a committee of experts and offer internationally acclaimed rules and procedures. The ISO 25964-1:2011 (part 1) for example, contains valuable information on thesauri and interoperability with other vocabularies.

See also: Interoperability, ISO, Standard