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Develop Conceptual Mapping


Every incoming dataset starts with a unique structure and use of terms. To get all of this unique data to connect as Linked Open Data (LOD), each dataset needs to use the same ontology. In this step, LINCS develops a mapping that basically gives us instructions on how each relationship in the original data should look as Resource Description Framework (RDF) triples.

LINCS has adopted CIDOC CRM as its base ontology. CIDOC CRM can be tailored to a specific dataset using existing CIDOC CRM extensions or domain specific vocabularies. LINCS’s use of CIDOC CRM is documented in the LINCS application profile, with project specific conversion details available in the project application profiles.

For more information, see our ontology documentation.

Resources Needed

This step can be a challenging one as Research Teams are often new to CIDOC CRM and many of the ontology concepts introduced. LINCS is here to help make the step as simple as possible.

For natural language and TEI data, we have tools that let you skip this step and extract RDF directly from your data using templates for common relationships.

For datasets that need custom mappings, we have application profiles that you can follow. These application profiles show the patterns we have used in mappings for previously converted LINCS data. When this is not enough, the Ontology Team can—with your consultation—develop custom mappings for you. This process typically takes 2-4 weeks from the time that LINCS receives a copy of your source data and enough documentation to understand the relationships it contains.


We encourage your team to take an active role through the mapping process, even if LINCS is developing a custom mapping for you. By interrogating the ways in which your data is mapped to CIDOC CRM and the vocabulary terms introduced during this step, Research Teams often learn new things about their data and reevaluate the best ways to express concepts.

The mapping process has inspired past LINCS projects to go back and enhance their source data once they understood how expressive CIDOC CRM and RDF data can be.

Regardless of the workflow you are following, your team will benefit from reviewing our ontology documentation to understand the goals of this step and the basics of CIDOC CRM. Once your data is converted, understanding some CIDOC CRM will also help you navigate your data and take advantage of its new structure.

Research TeamOntology TeamConversion TeamStorage Team
Develop a Mapping
Consult and Approve Mapping

Develop a Mapping

Most incoming datasets express some relationships that are common to already converted LINCS datasets. Basic biographic information about people or bibliographic details of written works are common examples. In these cases, your team can, with the support of the Ontology Team, use the LINCS application profile to start mapping those components. As more datasets are added to the LINCS triplestore, more mappings will be available to draw upon.

When there are no existing datasets in LINCS that have similar structure and content, The Ontology Team either drafts a new conceptual mapping or adapts an existing mapping. The Ontology Team iterates the mapping process until a conceptual model has been created that accurately captures and perhaps even enhances the meaning of the original data. The mapping is approved by the Research Team.

Consult and Approve Mapping

The mappping process is iterative; once the Research Team and Ontology Team are satisfied with the mapping, you can move to the next step. If you are using LINCS natural language or TEI conversion tools, then you will not have output from this step and will move on to the Implement Conceptual Mapping step to generate your converted data.

Otherwise, at the end of this step you should have mappings defined that you will implement in the next step.