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Re: Comments on Profiles Ontology from the standpoint of ShEx

From: Thomas Baker <tom@tombaker.org>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 12:27:07 +0100
To: "Car, Nicholas (L&W, Dutton Park)" <Nicholas.Car@csiro.au>
Cc: public-dxwg-comments <public-dxwg-comments@w3.org>, Kat Thornton <katherine.thornton@yale.edu>, Eric Prudhommeaux <eric@w3.org>, Andra Waagmeester <andra@micelio.be>
Message-ID: <20190212112707.GA34602@cicero.speedport.ip>
Hi Nicholas,

A few brief comments on my own behalf (and not DCMI or ShEx).

> > ...when namespaces simply provide just a handful of their terms to a profile, it seems like a stretch to say that the profile is "profiling" each of the namespaces.
> 
> But they are! If you use 3 DC terms in an ontology, you are, to the definitions we have, profiling DC, albeit in a small way we think.

In the Dublin Core context, since 1999, "terms" from "namespaces" are "used" in "profiles".  In this sense, DC is a namespace -- a collection of terms -- and the profile is constructed using terms from DC and other namespaces.  To me, it is more natural to say that the profile "uses" specific terms from the namespace than to say that the profile "profiles" the entire namespace.  By analogy, if I write an essay using words from the Merriam Webster dictionary, I am not "profiling" the Merriam Webster dictionary.

> We've typically, informally, referred to something profiled by a Profile as a base specification which, in relation to the Profile is the role that the thing is playing. This is compatible with the DCT definition of `dct:Standard`: "A basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated.". So that definition's not calling for the Standard to be published by W3C etc. With that softer definition of Standard, our definition of a Profile would work for "a vocabulary I just invented".

In PROF, Profile is a sub-class of Standard, so any instance of Profile is also an instance of Standard.  Profile is defined as a "named set of constraints", so every named set of constraints is also an instance of Standard. I see a risk of confusion here. Personally, I find it clearer to distinguish between namespaces, which only define terms, and profiles, which only use and constrain those terms.

> > ...the Profiles Ontology feels less like an ontology and more like an Application Profile, albeit a profile that happens to be about application profiles.
> 
> We've struggled with the use of 'ontology' v. 'vocabulary' etc. Would we be better off with Profiles Vocabulary perhaps? 

I would much prefer Profiles Vocabulary, the terms of which would be "used", along with terms from other namespaces, in a Profiles Profile.

> So we've tried to restrict PROF to only modelling new concepts like the Standard/Profile relationship, not previously modelled things like titles. We, at least I, disagree strongly with recreating, in a single namespace, all of the properties one might want to use in the total task of profile definition & annotation given the best practice of importing and reusing other ontologies.

Though if PROF were a profile, it would not need to recreate the properties in a single namespace but could fill out the profile with terms from other namespaces.

Tom
-- 
Tom Baker <tom@tombaker.org>
Received on Tuesday, 12 February 2019 11:27:52 UTC

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