Actors: People and Organizations

Table of Contents


Introduction

All activities are carried out by some actor, either a person (Person) or a group of people (Group) such as an organization or company. The identity and description of these actors are very important to record in order to provide the human context for the activities, and their related places and objects. The creators, finders, owners, sellers and curators of objects are all important to describe in a consistent fashion.

As far as scope goes, the model does not consider that non-humans (such as software or animals) can perform activities, as activities require some notion of intent. Thus the infamous monkey selfies from 2011 is not carried out by anyone, as the monkey cannot do it and the photographer did not intend for the selfies to be taken.

Types

There are two primary types of acting agent, Person and Group. They are sub-classes of the Actor class, which might be used when it is not certain whether the actor is a Person or a Group. For example, if a sale of an object is listed as being from an art dealer called "Smith", it is unclear whether it refers to a person via their family name, or to an organization named after its owner. Equally, if there is no information about the actor currently available, but identity is desired such that it can later be reconciled or used because there is some other information known, then the use of Actor is likely needed in this case as well. As such, encountering all three should be anticipated.

Example: Example Museum, a Group, acquires something from a J. Smith, a Person. The actual acquisition is carried out by some unknown group or person, and therefore just an Actor.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/4", 
  "type": "Acquisition", 
  "transferred_title_from": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/2", 
      "type": "Person", 
      "_label": "J. Smith"
    }
  ], 
  "transferred_title_to": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/group/2", 
      "type": "Group", 
      "_label": "Example Museum Organization", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300312281", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Museum"
        }
      ]
    }
  ], 
  "carried_out_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/1", 
      "type": "Actor", 
      "_label": "Unknown Person or Organization"
    }
  ]
}

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Names

Names are turned into first class resources with their own identity, and given a class called Name. They are described in detail in the shared patterns section. If there is a primary or main name to use, it should be classified_as aat:300404670.

Example: A person named "J. Smith"

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/3", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "J. Smith", 
  "identified_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/2", 
      "type": "Name", 
      "content": "J. Smith", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404670", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Primary Name"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Parts of Names

Personal names can often be broken down into parts, with different types. The types are given using the classified_as property. The name parts are themselves Names, and are included in the part set in the same way as other partitioning. The type of name is given using classified_as, in the regular fashion. Western name division vocabulary is given below, and other name part types should be suggested.

Vocabulary:

Term Vocabulary
First Name (aat:300404651)
Middle Name (aat:300404654)
Last Name (aat:300404652)
Prefix (aat:300404662)
Suffix (aat:300404845)

Example: A person named "Lady Joan A. Smith, Duchess of Wolverhampton"

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/4", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Lady Joan A. Smith, Duchess of Wolverhampton", 
  "identified_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/3", 
      "type": "Name", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404670", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Primary Name"
        }
      ], 
      "content": "Lady Joan A. Smith, Duchess of Wolverhampton", 
      "part": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/6", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "Lady", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404845", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Name Prefix"
            }
          ]
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/4", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "Joan", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404651", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Given Name"
            }
          ]
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/8", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "A.", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404654", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Middle Name"
            }
          ]
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/5", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "Smith", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404652", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Family Name"
            }
          ]
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/7", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "Duchess of Wolverhampton", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404662", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Name Suffix"
            }
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Identity

People are often assigned identifiers that should be recorded and tracked in the same way as any other identity. While the primary identifier from a Linked Open Data perspective is the URI given to the person that provides the data about the person, there can be any number of other identifiers also associated with the resource. These follow the same pattern as for other identifiers, with identified_by being used with an Identifier resource, that can have further classifications and a content string. Organizations can also have identifiers, using the same pattern.

Example: A local identifier for the person is "643".

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/5", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Xavier Y. Zeelander", 
  "identified_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/identifier/3", 
      "type": "Identifier", 
      "content": "643", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300404621", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Local Number"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Other Linked Data Identifiers

There may be other identifiers for the person available in external systems, such as ULAN or any of a dozen others. If all of the information needed about the person is available from that system, then it is recommended to simply use that identifier directly as the URI for the Person. If there is a requirement to maintain separate information about the person, then the exact_match property should be used to align the two. This might happen when, for example, the local data has additional information about which documents refer to the person, or more detailed biographical information.

Example: Van Gogh has the ULAN identity http://vocab.getty.edu/ulan/500115588

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/6", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Vincent Van Gogh", 
  "exact_match": [
    {"id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/ulan/500115588","_label": "Van Gogh, Vincent"}
  ]
}

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Addresses

People and Organizations often have addresses, physical or online, via which they can be contacted. This includes mailing addresses, email addresses and so forth. These are referenced separately from Names and Identifiers, as many Actors might have the same contact point. The address is the Name for a location or service, and is thus modeled as a Name. This Name is then related to the actor via the contact_point property. They can be classified_as different types, and use the content property to capture the address itself.

Example: The person A. Bacchus has an email address, and can be contacted via mail at the museum they are employed by.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/7", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "A. Bacchus", 
  "member_of": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/group/3", 
      "type": "Group", 
      "_label": "Example City Museum", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300312281", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Museum"
        }
      ], 
      "contact_point": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/10", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "1200 Museum Drive, Example City", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300386983", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Street Address"
            }
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ], 
  "contact_point": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/9", 
      "type": "Name", 
      "content": "a.person@example.org", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300149026", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Email Address"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Street Addresses

It is also valuable to use the partitioning pattern to break street addresses into their component parts, for presentation to users, for filling out forms, or for ease of discovery. In particular, the following terms are recommended.

Term Vocabulary Description
Street Number (aat:300419272) The number of the street address
Street Name (aat:300419273) The complete name of the street, including any directional attributes (South) and type (Boulevard)
City (aat:300008389) The name of the city
Postal Code (aat:300419274) The postal code for the address
State/Province (aat:300000774) The state or province for the address
Country (aat:300128207) The country for the address

Example: The Museum's address is made up of a street number, street name, city and postal code.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/group/4", 
  "type": "Group", 
  "_label": "Example City Museum", 
  "classified_as": [
    {
      "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300312281", 
      "type": "Type", 
      "_label": "Museum"
    }
  ], 
  "contact_point": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/11", 
      "type": "Name", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300386983", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Street Address"
        }
      ], 
      "content": "1200 Museum Drive, Example City, 90049", 
      "part": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/12", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "1200", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300419272", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Street Number"
            }
          ]
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/13", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "Museum Drive", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300419273", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Street Name"
            }
          ]
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/14", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "Example City", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300008389", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "City"
            }
          ]
        }, 
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/name/15", 
          "type": "Name", 
          "content": "90049", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300419274", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Postal Code"
            }
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Life Events

There are key events in a person or organization's lifespan that are often recorded as they contribute core information for determining the identity of the actor. These include the birth or formation, death or dissolution, and the period in which they carried out the work they are known for.

Birth and Death / Formation and Dissolution

Like the production of objects or the creation of texts, people and organizations also come into and out of existence through events. These events can take place at certain Places, and happen at certain times.

People are born in Birth events and die in Death events, related to the person by the born and died properties respectively. Groups are formed in Formation events, and dissolved in Dissolution events, referenced via the formed_by and dissolved_by properties. These classes are modeled not as Activities, but as Events that are not themselves carried out by anyone. They are the coming into existence instant of the person, not the conception of the couple, the labor of the mother, or potentially the killing by a murderer. These activities can be modeled as causes, as described below.

Birth and Death do not have any properties of their own that are used in the model, only those inherited from the event superclass, such as timespan and took_place_at.

!!! "note" "Inanimate Thing or Dead Person?" After death, people are still instances of Person which is a subclass of Actor, even though they can no longer carry out activities. People in comas or otherwise completely incapacitated also cannot carry out activities, but are not temporarily non-Actors. The modeling that death is a transformation from an instance of Person to an instance of Thing adds complexity for the sake of purity, but does not add any actual value. Thus a burial activity (aat:300263485) buries a Person, not a Thing-that-used-to-be-a-Person. However if the skeleton is then dug up and exhibited, it is exhibited as a Thing. There is, therefore, a transition at some undetermined point.

Example: The birth and death of Amanda B. Curtlett.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/8", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Amanda B. Curtlett", 
  "born": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/5", 
    "type": "Birth", 
    "timespan": {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/3", 
      "type": "TimeSpan", 
      "begin_of_the_begin": "1767-01-09", 
      "end_of_the_end": "1767-01-12"
    }
  }, 
  "died": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/6", 
    "type": "Death", 
    "took_place_at": [
      {
        "id": "https://linked.art/example/place/5", 
        "type": "Place", 
        "_label": "Death Place"
      }
    ], 
    "timespan": {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/4", 
      "type": "TimeSpan", 
      "begin_of_the_begin": "1824-08-21", 
      "end_of_the_end": "1824-08-21"
    }
  }
}

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Example: The formation and dissolution of the ill-fated Example Organization

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/group/5", 
  "type": "Group", 
  "_label": "Example Organization", 
  "dissolved_by": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/Dissolution/0", 
    "type": "Dissolution", 
    "_label": "Dissolution of Example Organization", 
    "timespan": {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/6", 
      "type": "TimeSpan", 
      "begin_of_the_begin": "1790-06-12T00:00:00", 
      "end_of_the_end": "1790-06-12T23:59:59"
    }
  }, 
  "formed_by": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/Formation/0", 
    "type": "Formation", 
    "_label": "Formation of Example Organization", 
    "timespan": {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/5", 
      "type": "TimeSpan", 
      "begin_of_the_begin": "1639-12-01T00:00:00", 
      "end_of_the_end": "1639-12-31T23:59:59"
    }
  }
}

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Active Dates

It is often useful to know where and when the person or organization was active in their professional function. For example, an artist might have started painting when they were 20, stopped by 30, and only painted in Italy. This information can be used to help eliminate dubious attributions, for example.

The property for the Person or Group is carried_out, the inverse of the more familiar carried_out_by from Activities to Actors. The Activity resource should be classified_as aat:300393177, meaning the time when the actor is actively performing their primary professional function. The other properties of activities can and should also be used.

Example: Patrick Q. Robertson was active between 1910-01-01 and 1934-03-21

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/9", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Patrick Q. Robertson", 
  "carried_out": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/7", 
      "type": "Activity", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300393177", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Professional Activities"
        }
      ], 
      "timespan": {
        "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/7", 
        "type": "TimeSpan", 
        "begin_of_the_begin": "1910-01-01", 
        "end_of_the_end": "1934-03-21"
      }
    }
  ]
}

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Descriptive Information

Biography

Biographical descriptions follow the LinguisticObject pattern, with biography (aat:300080102) as the classification. In all other respects, it is a vanilla usage of a resource being referred_to_by a particular text.

Example: David E. Frederickson's very should example biography.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/10", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "David E. Frederickson", 
  "referred_to_by": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/text/5", 
      "type": "LinguisticObject", 
      "content": "David was born at a very early age.", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300080102", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Biography Statement"
        }, 
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300418049", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Brief Text"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Nationality

Nationality is modeled as a Type that is associated with the Person, rather than as a Group as described in the CIDOC-CRM ontology document. This is because all of the people, across all time, who have had a particular nationality, cannot take action as a single coherent entity. As Group is a sub-class of Actor, it is not thought to be an appropriate class for this use. Without proliferating new classes (e.g. sets of people that are not actors), the traditional and perfectly consistent way to describe nationality is as a flag on the person, which is modeled as a Type.

The Type resource should have aat:300379842 as one of its classifications, such that a consuming application can find all of the nationality types from amongst the person's classifications. The nationality resource should either be from an established vocabulary of nationalities, or have an exact_match to an established vocabulary entry if additional local information is necessary to record, such as a particular name for that nationality.

Example: Jeremy K. Lintott is a British national.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/11", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Jeremy K. Lintott", 
  "classified_as": [
    {
      "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300111159", 
      "type": "Type", 
      "_label": "British", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300379842", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Nationality"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Ethnicity

Ethnicity is separate from nationality, as it refers to a social group or culture as opposed to a political nation or state. The same argument as to why nationality is modeledthis is not a Group applies

Gender

Gender is a hotly debated and politically charged topic. The intent of this section is not to take a stand on those debates, but instead to allow the representation of data in museum and other information management systems to be made accessible.

Gender is not specifically discussed in CRM, in fact it was even deleted from a previous version, and the current modeling decision is to echo the same Aggregation pattern as for nationality. This allows a plethora of gender diversity, and does not make any specific statements about biological versus assumed versus prefered gender roles. A Person can be a member of multiple groups at the same time, allowing the association with multiple genders with this modeling decision. Gender based groups should be classified_as aat:300055147 along with any specific classification known.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/12", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Mabel N. Overton", 
  "classified_as": [
    {
      "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300189557", 
      "type": "Type", 
      "_label": "feminine", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300055147", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Gender"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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Digital Integration

Images of the person can also be provided, in the same way as for images of objects via the representation property. If IIIF resources, web pages or other digital content is available, the same patterns as for objects also apply. Only the basic image case is shown below, the other scenarios can easily be determined from the referenced digital integration for objects.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/13", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Gertrude H. Ingram", 
  "representation": [
    {
      "id": "http://example.org/images/gertrude.jpg", 
      "type": "VisualItem", 
      "_label": "Image of G.H. Ingram", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300215302", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Digital Image"
        }
      ], 
      "format": "image/jpeg"
    }
  ]
}

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Organization Membership

As discussed above, Organizations can be seen as the actor when it comes to their roles in various events. For example, an auction is likely to be carried out by an organization, and they can own and curate objects.

The only significantly new aspect to organizational actors, compared to people, is that they can have members. These members can be either sub-groups, such as a department within a museum, or individuals.

For example, a curator could be a member_of a department, which is in turn a member of the wider institution. This is simply the inverse of member relationship described in the base patterns.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/14", 
  "type": "Person", 
  "_label": "Sameen T. Underwood", 
  "member_of": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/group/6", 
      "type": "Group", 
      "_label": "Paintings Department", 
      "classified_as": [
        {
          "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300263534", 
          "type": "Type", 
          "_label": "Department"
        }
      ], 
      "member_of": [
        {
          "id": "https://linked.art/example/group/7", 
          "type": "Group", 
          "_label": "Example Museum", 
          "classified_as": [
            {
              "id": "http://vocab.getty.edu/aat/300312281", 
              "type": "Type", 
              "_label": "Museum"
            }
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

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