Completed workshop Sustainable access to digital cultural and scientific heritage: Thesauri and Normative

3rd July 2016

The first HaS workshop Sustainable access to digital cultural and scientific heritage: Thesauri and Normative has been organized on 28th of June 2016 at the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore in Zagreb, Croatia. The workshop has been intended for humanistic scientific community, as well as for GLAM institutions to which thesauri and authority records are necessary for the organization of knowledge and information in general, and are an essential element in a virtual semantic environment.

Regulated authority bases and thesauruses are an important factor in ensuring the sustainability of e-infrastructures, which is one of the key topics in the focus of the HaS project. The great interest that researchers from various scientific and cultural institutions expressed in this workshop (62 registered participants) indicates that there is a will and real intention to finally seriously come to grips with the issue of creating a workable thesaurus and sustainable authority records.

HaS-DARIAH project manager Marco Racitti has introduced the DARIAH-ERIC and the project Humanties at Scale. An authority file of names and the importance of authority control have been the subjects of Ana Knežević Cerovski's presentation, the editor of the normative base of the National and University Library in Zagreb. As an introduction to the topic and the issue of creating a thesaurus, M. Sc. Irena Kolbas, senior curator and head of the library of the Ethnographic Museum has present the problem of terminology for a Humanities.

In the second part of the workshop Kristijan Crnković has presented an Indigo module for creating thesauri (, as an example of a user friendly tool which can facilitate the work and become a central place, accessible to the members of the WGs for working together, rather than each individual or each institution for themselves in a variety of formats and programs. Crnković awarded the participants the right for access and administration in the online module and announced the creation of instructions for the use of online tools that will be sent to all interested parties.

Eventually, the participants have been divided into working groups according to the field of study or interest (ethnology, ethnomusicology, history, art history and one for the authority records) and, using this online tool, have tried to create a thesaurus scheme and have discussed the problems which were specific for their fields. In the Authority Records group, the participants have been learning the way of making new records in the Aleph module.

In the closing session the participants have appointed coordinators for each WG and agreed to continue with work on the development of thesauri in their areas of expertise. They also agreed to try to involve other colleagues from their own and other institutions in Croatia to help in creating an operable thesauri for scientific and professional terminology in various humanistic and artistic fields in the near future, which will be available to the entire DARIAH (and broader) community.

Irena Kolbas stressed that everyone should be aware of the high degree of complexity and long-term work that awaits them in the construction of thesauri, after which some participants in the debate expressed the desire and the need for creating a fixed framework within which this newly formed working group will be able to act concretely, with clearly defined objectives and terms of construction of the thesauri. The participants suggested, among other things, forming a coordinating body to supervise this work and preparing and launching a project for creating thesaurus, in order to justify the hours invested by various interested parties. The National Coordinator Koraljka Kuzman Šlogar suggested that, for the purpose of interoperability and benefition for the entire DARIAH-EU community, an application for an international project of developing a multilingual thesaurus in cooperation with partners from other countries should be considered and thought about.

The participants have left the workshop with faith that this event was the beginning of a new cooperation on a thesauri project and expressed their wish to join another workshop on this topic.

The workshop has been organized in the framework of DARIAH-EU project "Humanities at Scale" and with the support of the "Intangible heritage and digital humanities" project of the IEF.