Data Integration

OCHRE combines data from multiple research projects while preserving the terminology and conceptual distinctions of each project. It does not impose a standardized nomenclature or recording system but instead provides a common, integrative structure at the level of fundamental spatial, temporal, and logical relationships that apply to all cultural heritage projects.

This is possible because of OCHRE's item-based organization of data. It is difficult to combine data from different tabular, class-based databases because the number and types of classes (tables) usually vary from one database to the next; and even when there are similar classes in two different databases, the predefined properties (columns) of the classes do not match. In OCHRE this problem is avoided because table rows are decomposed into individual entities with their own properties and the combination of entities from different databases is done by matching their individual properties. In addition, the spatial, temporal, and logical hierarchies used by one project can be easily combined with the hierarchies of another project, resulting in a larger database that contains the data from both projects while remaining coherently organized in a predictable fashion.

Read More: Atomization, Organization, and Recombination

  • Note: The hierarchical, item-based approach employed in OCHRE is described in David Schloen's article "Archaeological Data Models and Web Publication Using XML," Computers and the Humanities 35 (2001): 123–52. This article is out of date in some respects. It was written before the OCHRE project was begun and before XML databases were widely available, but it explains the basic design principle that has informed the development of OCHRE.