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Lightweight Information Describing Objects

"Quoted" are blurbs from the referenced sites.


Heritage and Benefits

It seems clear that LIDO will have a bright future, since it takes into account several established formats and represents consensus between important institutions:

  • CDWA Lite (Getty) "is an XML schema for encoding core records for works of art and material culture based on the data elements and guidelines in CDWA and following the data content standard Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO), provided by the Getty Trust and Framework Tools#ARTstor. It is intended as a low-barrier way to enable institutions to contribute their collections information to union catalogs using OAI/PMH (Open Archives Initiatives Protocol for Metadata Harvesting)" (same protocol used by Europeana)
  • museumdat (German Museums Association) "is an XML Schema provided by the Documentation Committee of the German Museums Association, which builds largely upon CDWA Lite, but overcomes its specific focus on art mainly by a reconfiguration of the CDWA Lite elements that takes into account the event-oriented multi-disciplinary approach of CIDOC CRM
  • SPECTRUM XML (Collections Trust) "is based on the UK and international standard for collections management with the same name from the Collections Trust. It provides a format for exchanging object records between different collections management systems and aggregating data."

Benefits as a data import format:

  • LIDO is designed specifically for the purpose of exporting collection metadata and harvesting it to union catalogs. This should provide incentives to collection management vendors to create LIDO exporters for their systems.
    • (But one of the most important union catalogs at present is Europeana, which uses ESE/EDM format, which are models based on OAI-ORE "Aggregations" that are not covered by LIDO)
  • We don't have precise data on LIDO's uptake in museums, but it appears that several current collection aggregation projects (including EU projects) use LIDO, in particular ATHENA
  • We have found a tool that seems to be robust and featureful for converting LIDO to EDM (MINT)
    An important article by M.Doerr et al describes the disposition/relations between LIDO, EDM, CIDOC CRM.


  • LIDO is another source format (in addition to Rembrandt and Cranach) that will take effort to implement. If Cranach uses the same format as Rembrandt (AdLib) then we can do LIDO without changing the stage3 cost (switch one for the other).
  • The full LIDO is considerably more complex than Rembrandt (AdLib XML). Maybe we could implement conversion of only the commonly used part of LIDO?
  • The mapping to CIDOC CRM is not completely clear. Doerr has published a draft against LIDO 0.7 only, and it is not very formal, and too many things are mapped to Strings. The LIDO 1.0 spec says only that "Equivalent CIDOC-CRM paths will eventually be included as well"
    • Pro: we found a conversion XSL and conversion tool from Doerr for LIDO 0.7, but have not tested it
    • Pro: We found CARARE-LIDO, LIDO-EDM and other conversions for LIDO. Perhaps somewhere we'll be able to find a conversion LIDO-CRM. With some more research, we should be able to confirm if it is robust enough

Technical overview

Despite its name, LIDO is not quite simple. It includes 174 elements and 117 attributes (from a quick count of <xsd:element> and <xsd:attribute> in the XSD file)

But still, LIDO is a lot simpler than CRM, since it is a lot more specific. One element/group is used for one purpose (except for Events which are modeled after CRM). In contrast, CRM entities are abstract, so they can be used for various different purposes.

LIDO defines 14 information groups (and no abstract concepts):

  • Object Classifications
    • Object / Work Type
    • Classification
  • Object Identifications
    • Title / Name
    • Inscriptions
    • Repository / Location
    • State / Edition
    • Object Description
    • Measurements
  • Events
    • Event Set (events that happened to the cultural object)
      Event Identifier, Type, Name, Description, Actor, Date, Place, Method, Materials / Technique;
      Culture, Period, Role of object in Event, Thing Present, Related Event
  • Relations
    • Subject Set (what is the cultural object about)
      Subject Concept, Actor, Date, Place, Event (event that the cultural object depicts), Object, Extent
    • Related Works
  • Administrative Metadata
    • Rights
    • Record
    • Resource

Schema features:

  • full multilingual support
  • support values from thesauri (controlled vocabularies, authority files)
  • "wraps" and "sets": 'parasitic' elements that envelop optional and repeating elements
  • Display vs Indexing:
    • display: "displayXXX" is a text rendition of some info, ready to be presented online to a user
    • indexing: XXX is a structured group of elements, used for search and retrieval

For example (structure is shown by nesting, the actual syntax is XML):

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