Ontologies in Geovistory

In order to produce data interoperable not only on format, but also on content level, it is important that all information stored is well defined. Ontologies help to clearly structure data in classes, with a proper definition of each class.

The use of an ontology therefore allows to produce semantically clear data. Thus, such data is interoperable with other data-sets using the same ontology and can be made interoperable with data-sets using other ontologies if an appropriate ontology-mapping is carried out.


The Geovistory data model builds on on the iso-normed CIDOC-CRM and specific extensions. This allows us to produce semantically well defined data and to ensure that data of all projects within Geovistory is interoperable. The ontology is not managed within Geovistory, but in a community-driven ontology management tool, OntoME. It is a freely accessible tool for modelling data. Designed for any object-oriented structured data model, OntoME makes it easy to build, manage and align your ontology.

OntoME is developed and maintained by the Axe de Recherche en Histoire Numérique of the Laboratoire de recherche historique Rhône-Alpes (LARHRA CNRS UMR 5190 – Universités de Lyon et Grenoble).

Note: Learn here more about how the usage of ontologies and interoperability of data relates to our application of the FAIR principles.

Working with Ontologies in Geovistory

As described in the cycle of knowledge production, at a certain time, based on what information your sources provide and the information you need to answer your research question, you have to choose a semantic data-model that defines which classes are of relevance in your project and how they relate to each other (relations are named 'properties').

In Geovistory Toolbox, users have different options how they can do this:

  • Some classes are already available within each project and can simply be activated or deactivated.

  • Classes are grouped in profiles, which take together entity classes of relevance for a certain topic. These profiles can be activated and are then available in your project.

  • If the entity classes you need are not yet available within an profile, you can create your own profile in the community-managed ontology platform OntoME. Please reach out to us if you need assistance in this process.

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