Interpreting metadata and ontologies of virtual heritage artefacts

Pieter Pauwels, Danilo Di Mascio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many cultural heritage artefacts are digitised, resulting in a considerable number of virtual heritage artefacts, including 3D models, textual database records, images, point clouds, videos and so forth. These virtual heritage artefacts are often, if not always, accompanied by metadata standards and commonly agreed upon ontologies. These metadata and ontologies allow to build representations of virtual heritage artefacts that can be shared afterwards across different environments. In other words, the information about the artefact is interoperable. In many cases, however, it appears to be not so straightforward to use the artefact information in a context different from what it was initially meant for. This situation is analysed here, indicating that the interpretation of artefacts, both virtual and real, depends not only on the observed entities (virtual and real artefacts), but also on the background knowledge of the interpreter (personal), which can only remotely be captured in metadata and ontologies (cfr. user profiles). From the analysis results, recommendations are proposed about the pragmatic usage of metadata and ontologies in the context of virtual heritage artefacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-555
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage in the Digital Era
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014


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