Searching for Cultural Heritage Information Ontology-based Modeling of User Needs

Searching for Cultural Heritage Information Ontology-based Modeling of User Needs/ Maliheh Farrokhnia. Dissertation for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) Department of  Archivistics, Library and Information Science Faculty of Social Sciences OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. Spring 2019.

Abstract (English): This PhD dissertation investigates users’ actual information needs when they search for culturalheritage information and examines how their needs map to ontologies such as CIDOC ConceptualReference Model (CRM).With the invention of the semantic web and increasing demand for global search acrosscultural heritage data, ontologies such as CIDOC CRM have been developed to provide anextensible semantic framework to formally describe the implicit and explicit relationships ofcultural-heritage concepts. This ontology provides a basis for meaningful integrated access tosemantically heterogeneous data. Currently, ontologies are developed by domain experts andsystem developers. In this project, qualitative research incorporating user’s perspective andactual needs is used to complement our understanding of how well the ontologies model user’s needs.With a naturalistic approach, this study has conducted contextual inquiry to explore user’sinformation needs. Analyzing the qualitative data reveals that the information needs can begrouped into four emergent categories of Fact-finding, Entity-finding, Resource-finding, andContext-finding. As the result of analysis, the model of semantic information needs has beenintroduced that can be considered as an extension to Taylor’s levels of information needs.Based on the ontological analysis of information needs, some general patterns have beendiscovered and projected onto CIDOC CRM.The findings of this research show that ontology-based information systems can be built upon alimited types of entities and properties to meet a broad range of information needs.
Keywords: Information need, CIDOC CRM, Modeling