How-To - Libraries

Version: 1.0

Created date: 2021-04-22

Last update: 2022-11-23

Abstract: This document provides an overview of libraries and instructions on how to use them.

Contact: For any questions and/or feedback, please contact us at, indicating “ libraries” in the subject line of the email.

Main Use

  • To facilitate the visualization of data models based on CIDOC CRM and its extensions when using the tool.

Context libraries is a collection of custom shape library files (.xml) of ontologies used to represent semantic patterns through It is maintained by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) and used to generate diagrams in the context of its Linked Open Data projects. Currently, CHIN provides seven libraries for the following CIDOC CRM ontologies (i.e. the ones that are officially released in RDFS format). The libraries are of benefit to users who design diagrams for data models that are based on CIDOC CRM.

  • CIDOC CRM base (version 7.1.1)

  • FRBRoo (version 2.4)

  • PRESSoo (version 1.0)

  • CRMdig (version 3.2.2)

  • CRMpc (version 7.1.1)

  • CRMarchaeo (version 1.4.1)

  • CRMgeo (version 1.2)

This work is inspired by the work of Nicola Carboni.

Essential Vocabularies and Prior Knowledge

A custom library is a set of pre-designed shapes that can be easily dragged and dropped in the drawing canvas to facilitate the drawing process. It is usually found on the left side panel of the editor.

Each library contains the shapes of all the classes as well as the connectors for the properties of each ontology. The colour scheme (see below) is based on a proposal by George Bruseker for CIDOC CRM.

E1_CRM_Entity and any subclasses that are not subclasses of the below classes (#FFFFFF)
E2_Temporal_Entity and its subclasses (#82C3EC)
E55_Type and its subclasses (#FAB565)
E52_Time-Span and its subclasses (#86BCC8)
E41_Appellation and its subclasses (#FEF3BA)
E53_Place and its subclasses (#94CC7D)
E28_Conceptual_Object and its subclasses (#FDDC34)
E18_Physical_Thing and its subclasses (#E1BA9C)
E41_Actor and its subclasses (#FFBDCA)
All PC_Classes (#CC80FF)

Intended Audience(s) and Section Description

The tool can be used by anyone who wants to visualize data models that are based on CIDOC CRM and its extensions. There are two methods of loading the libraries depending on the version of being used:

The Using the libraries section provides a more detailed description and guide to the usage of the libraries themselves.


Loading the Libraries

To use the libraries, there are two options:

  • Opening a library XML file directly to the editor, or

  • Loading a library via URL.

Opening a Library File

This option is most suitable for the desktop version.

Launch the editor, click File Open Library from, then:

  1. If the Github repository or the XML file(s) are downloaded:

    1. Select the service or device where the file(s) are stored;

    2. Locate and select the library (the file extension will be .xml), and click Choose.


  1. Directly use the Github URL for each library file in the folder /cidoc-crm:

    1. CIDOC CRM base (

    2. FRBRoo (

    3. PRESSoo (

    4. CRMdig (

    5. CRMpc (

    6. CRMarchaeo ((

    7. CRMgeo ((

Loading a Library via a URL

This option is most suitable for the online version.

Click on the following URLs to open the editor with:

Once loaded, the library is usually cached by the browser, so there is no need to load it every time, unless the browser data has been cleared.

Using the Libraries

Each library contains two types of shapes:

  • Rounded rectangle shapes for classes (each shape is filled with colour, per the colour scheme described above).

  • Black arrows for properties.

Each shape has a label based on the CIDOC CRM naming convention, i.e. with an underscore after the entity’s code and between each string (E2_Temporal_Entity), and spaces in its title (E2 Temporal Entity) to facilitate the “Search Shapes” function located at the top of the left side panel.

To search for any shape, either classes or properties, enter its CIDOC CRM code and/or label.

Memory Aids

  • Use this link to load all libraries at once in the online version.

  • Use the Search tool to find an entity, either by code and/or label.

For More Information

Consult the following resources for further information on how to generate, share and load’s custom libraries in general:


Files in this repository are made available under the MIT License. To meet the attribution requirements of this license, you must indicate the copyright holder using the following:

Copyright (c) 2021-2022 Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canadian Heritage, Government of Canada - Réseau Canadien d’information sur le patrimoine, Patrimoine canadien, Gouvernement du Canada is distributed under Apache License 2.0. Copyright 2021 (JGraph)


Benson, David. 2020. “Work with Custom Shape Libraries.” Legacy Desk - Do Not Use. September 15, 2020.

Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). 2021a. “class (noun).” In Glossary. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada.

———. 2021b. “property (noun).” In Glossary. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada.

Carboni, Nicola. (2020) 2021. Shapes_CIDOC-CRM.

jgraph. n.d. “Diagrams.Net Libraries.” Drawio-Libs. Accessed May 13, 2021.