Research project AG/LL/169 (Research action AG)
The MULTITA project, coordinated by the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) and the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (RICH), wants to valorise the collections of both institutions by creating a multilingual thesaurus for museological and digitalisation purposes. The RMAH and RICH, in close collaboration with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (RMFA), the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Unité héritage culturel, Numérisation des patrimoines, Service de la langue française), the Museums of the City of Brussels, the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (The Hague, Netherlands) and the Fédération et Ressources sur l’Antiquité (Paris, France), will develop a poly-hierarchical thesaurus for artistic and archaeological collections. The emphasis will lie on visual material, containers (vessels), ceramic and textile techniques and materials and styles/periods. The thesaurus will be translated and made accessible in French, English and Dutch. The thesaurus will also be enriched semantically by the addition of synonyms, short definitions (scope notes), associative concepts etc.
Following recent international developments in thesaurus standards, ‘term’ will be replaced by ‘concept’. This means that terms in thesauri are considered as ‘concepts’ with a unique ID and with several terms, definitions, sources etc. attached to it.
For the time being, the partner institutions each work with separate, monolingual or multilingual thesauri. These will be the starting point of the new common thesaurus. They will be harmonised and translated. The following thesauri will be considered:
- The AICIM-thesaurus, monolingual in French, developed by the French Community in collaboration with the non-profit organization Musées et Sociétés en Wallonie, used by a whole range of museums and cultural organisations in Brussels and Wallonia;
- The RICH-thesaurus, in French and Dutch, with an elaborate terminology concerning cultural heritage;
- The Museum of Art and History recently developed a thesaurus in Dutch, French and English for a number of museum collections (Egypt, Oceania, Decorative Arts of the 19th-20th centuries, Pre-Columbian America, Costume and Lace, Carriages, Weapons and armour, Iran and Old Near East, Preciosa);
- The Frantiq-network, which consists of several universities, archaeological services and museums in France, created the multilingual archaeological thesaurus PACTOLS.
- The Dutch version of the Art & Architecture thesaurus, managed by the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie in The Hague, contains a large range of concepts in Dutch (with English equivalent), used by museums and cultural heritage institutions in Belgium and in the Netherlands;
- The digitalisation project of the French Community (PEP’s) works with the UNESCO-thesaurus.
The development of a common thesaurus in three languages has the following advantages:
- A thesaurus semantically classifies technically difficult archaeological and art historical concepts, i.e. based on their meaning. A multitude of concepts with different meaning are structured by hierarchical, associative and equivalent relations. Each concept will be defined and translated. A thesaurus avoids problems concerning translations, spelling and grammar because they are ‘controlled’ by a thesaurus;
- A thesaurus is a scientific tool that can be used in scientific publications, such as museum and exhibition catalogues, in scientific articles, books or other publications;
- A thesaurus is a scientific tool for non-scientific museum staff for labelling, museums brochures, website info, online catalogues etc.
- Thesauri are indispensable for the retrieval of object data in a database or in an online catalogue. When systematically using the same concept, synonyms, definitions etc., objects from one or more museum collections can be retrieved easily. A query will present all relevant results;
- Thesauri are indispensable for further export possibilities, for example when linking multiple museum databases or linking databases in different languages;
- The multilingualism of the terminology will increase the accessibility and the visibility of the collections for an international public.
The non-funded partner institutions, the coordinator and the promoter of the project will be closely involved during the process of comparison, harmonisation, enrichment and in the translation of the thesauri. The MULITITA-project will encourage an international network because of the collaboration between Belgian and foreign partners.
Multilingual terminological research (French, Dutch and English) for the development and integration of semantically enriched scientific thesauri (MULTITA) : synthèse
Belspo Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2015 (SP2610)
Multilingual terminological research (French, Dutch and English) for the development and integration of semantically enriched scientific thesauri (MULTITA) : synthese
Belspo Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2015 (SP2611)
Multilingual terminological research (French, Dutch and English) for the development and integration of semantically enriched scientific thesauri (MULTITA) : summary
Belspo Brussels : Belgian Scientific Policy, 2015 (SP2612)