Cultural and scientific data cannot be understood without knowledge about the provenance (the origin, context or history). Provenance provides a critical foundation for assessing authenticity, enabling trust, and allowing reproducibility. Provenance metadata are data describing objects, people, places, times which are causally related by events. They are event centric and must be described in a historical order to ensure that there are no references to non-existent (non-recorded) events or objects. Nowadays provenance has become even more critical in the web environment where data are sourced not only from established archives, but from many mixed credentialed providers.

What is SSHOCro?

The SSHOC Reference Ontology (SSHOCro) proposes an ontological model and RDF schema to be used as a top-level ontology for organizing knowledge and information found distributed across various primary sources of information in the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC). It provides a semantic interoperability framework for the description of the data life cycle used by Social Science and Humanities researchers.

Key features

  • a conceptual model is offered, that can be used to (re)describe at a generic level the real-world lifecycle of creating, finding and using data etc
  • the use of such a model and schema can be applied as a standard to be used in the step of devising and implementing metadata capture scheme for tracking the data lifecycle in individual projects, institutions and disciplines
  • it can also be used to map, transform and integrate existing data across projects, institutions and disciplines into interoperable pools of information for reuse and exploitation
  • the ontological model tries to capture the tools and services used by research communities across the Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines at each point in the data lifecycle


  • SSHOCro is modelled as an extension of CIDOC CRM, which provides a common and extensible semantic framework that any procedural information can be mapped to
  • Instances of the CIDOC-CRM model can be combined to huge meaningful networks of knowledge about e.g. historical facts and contextual relationships