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Re: Organization ontology

From: William Waites <william.waites@okfn.org>
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2010 22:27:41 +0100
Message-ID: <4C0D644D.5010606@okfn.org>
To: Dave Reynolds <dave.e.reynolds@googlemail.com>
CC: Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, public-egov-ig@w3.org
On 10-06-03 16:04, Dave Reynolds wrote:
> It would be great if you could suggest a better phrasing of the
> description of a FormalOrganization that would better encompass the
> range of entities you think should go there? Or are you advocating that
> the distinction between a generic organization and a externally
> recognized semi-autonomous organization is not a useful one?

Reading the rest of your mail, I think the latter. Do we really need
FormalOrganisation at all? Can we not just have Organisation and
then some extension vocabulary could have subclasses for different
flavours of partnerships, corporations, unincorporated associations
etc. as needed?

I don't think the distinction is useless as such, perhaps that it is
underspecified and "Formal" is ambiguous.

> Again don't over read into the name. All we are doing is providing a
> trinary relationship between people, organizations and roles. How a
> particular application of the ontology wants to further model roles is
> up to it. Given that we had to pick a name for the relationship then
> "membership" seemed reasonable, any alternative ("affiliate", "belongs
> to" etc) is likely to suffer from the same problem that there are
> English language or legal connotations for it that would trip people up.
> The most neutral alternative I came up with was "RoleInstance" but that
> is (a) off-puttingly technical and (b) confusing since it's an owl:Class
> and not the same as an instance of org:Role.

How about simply org:Relationship since it expresses details of the
relationship of a person to an organisation? Then we could have,
perhaps again in an extension vocabulary, Membership where that
makes sense in the common usage, Shareholder, Partner, etc.

>> The
>> president of ${big_corporation} cannot be said to have any kind
>> of membership relationship to that corporation, for example.
> He plays a role that we might call "president" in that organization and
> that could very happily be represented by an instance of the
> org:Membership class. 

I don't disagree that you can model it coherently like that, I just find
the choice of name here jarring.

> If the name of the Class is a barrier then it would be easy for you, in
> specializing the ontology, to create a new Class for the relationship
> which better suits the terminology of your application and make that a
> sub-class or equivalent-class of org:Membership. 

... and an owl reasoner, etc. etc.

I would just like it so that someone (human) reading some data in N3
without necessarily reading the details of the vocabulary would
understand the rough meaning. I think Membership is not "membership"
in the usual sense and is confusing.


William Waites           <william.waites@okfn.org>
Mob: +44 789 798 9965    Open Knowledge Foundation
Fax: +44 131 464 4948                Edinburgh, UK
Received on Monday, 7 June 2010 21:29:15 UTC

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