April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Sessions: Abstract

When is a terracotta hut urn like a sailor's deck-log?: Meaning instantiated across virtual boundaries   go to paper

Richard Smiraglia, Long Island University, USA

Resource sharing requires the integration of scientific and cultural information, which itself requires semantic interoperability on several levels, from metadata structures to the representation of intellectual content. Repository- and resource-specific data-structures fail to acknowledge the universality of function that might be common among resources. An example is the case of instantiation. When is a terracotta hut urn like a sailor’s deck-log like a best-selling novel? When its representations are multiply instantiated within a repository, but the instantiations are not distinguishable for retrieval purposes. Instantiation is the phenomenon first denoted empirically by research into bibliographic ‘works.’ Specifically, an instantiation of a work exists whenever the work is manifest in physical form (in a book, for example). A problem arises when multiple instantiations of a work (several editions, translations, etc.) exist and their descriptions must be linked in a retrieval system with sufficient information to assist in the selection of the instantiation of interest to a searcher.

Similarly, unique artifacts are represented by metadata or by images (called representations), which exist in multiple instantiations (a photographic negative, a print, its digital descendent, etc.). The same is true of the representations of archival documents, which might exist in paper photocopies (original and carbon), digital images, and so forth. Etruscan artifacts at The University of Pennyslvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, and the Archives of The Class of 1942 of The United States Merchant Marine Academy provide empirical evidence of the phenomenon of instantiation. Multiplicity among informing objects is universal, and the analysis of instantiation shows this. Instantiation can be demonstrated as one example of a semantically interoperable, and empirically derived, model for the integration of scientific and cultural information.

Session: Tagging & Terms [Contributed Content]

Keywords: artifacts, documents, instantiation, metadata, ideation, semantic, knowledge sharing