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RE: What is a concept?

From: Miles, AJ (Alistair) <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 16:14:42 -0000
Message-ID: <350DC7048372D31197F200902773DF4C04944178@exchange11.rl.ac.uk>
To: 'Stella Dextre Clarke' <sdclarke@lukehouse.demon.co.uk>
Cc: "'public-esw-thes@w3.org'" <public-esw-thes@w3.org>

The following statement (basically a re-iteration of what you said Stella)
is how I see things, and my starting point for design in SKOS:

'The complete intension of a concept should be inferred from the preferred
label, the non-preferred labels, any scope notes or definitions, and
relationships to neighbouring concepts.'

[which is essentially the same as ... (from Stella)]
> "concept = preferred term + any non-preferred terms + any scope note +
> any clues given by relationships to broader terms and others"

The reason I replace 'term' with 'label' is because of the way I have heard
'term' used in the thesaurus world.  In my experience, when someone refers
to a 'term' sometimes they are  pointing to a concept, and sometimes they
are point to a string of characters.

Actually if you look at Stella's equation, it illustrates my point.  In the
first part 'term' is used to refer to the character strings (concept =
preferred term + any non-preferred terms ...) but in the second part it is
used as a proxy for concepts (concept = ... relationships to broader terms
...).  I would argue that 'broader' is a relationship of meaning, and
therefore a relationship between concepts, never between strings of
characters.       

When I use the word 'label' I am pointing to a string of characters or a
symbol.  When I use the word 'concept' I am point to some idea in my head.
I find that not using the word 'term' helps to keep this distinction clear.

Al.

      

> 
> Stella
> 
> *****************************************************
> Stella Dextre Clarke
> Information Consultant
> Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
> Tel: 01235-833-298
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> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org
> [mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Miles, AJ
> (Alistair) 
> Sent: 16 March 2004 13:26
> To: Dan Brickley (E-mail)
> Cc: 'public-esw-thes@w3.org'
> Subject: What is a concept?
> 
> 
> 
> :)
> 
> Defined in SKOS-Core 1.0 Guide as 'any unit of thought that may be
> defined or described.'  Might better be described as a 'unit 
> of meaning'
> or something like that.  
> 
> In contrast to e.g. traditional thesauri, where the 
> fundamental unit is
> usually a 'term', and hence where the intended meaning of the unit and
> the labels used to refer to it are confounded.
> 
> NB. I never use the word 'term' any more, because when 
> somebody in this
> line of work refers to a 'term' I've realised they usually have some
> idea of meaning attached to it (which may be a specially redefined
> meaning known only within a limited scope).  I.e. the meaning and the
> label have not been separated.  Hence I deliberately avoid using the
> word 'term' anywhere in the SKOS-Core 1.0 guide, but always 
> use 'label'
> as a name for the character strings or symbols that are used by people
> to refer to concepts.  
> 
> In my mind, 'term' = 'concept' + 'label'.
> 
> Al. 
> 
> P.s. if you think about this too much, you end up spiralling into
> non-existence.
> 
> ---
> Alistair Miles
> Research Associate
> CCLRC - Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
> Building R1 Room 1.60
> Fermi Avenue
> Chilton
> Didcot
> Oxfordshire OX11 0QX
> United Kingdom
> Email:        a.j.miles@rl.ac.uk
> Tel: +44 (0)1235 445440
> 
> 
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Dan Brickley [mailto:danbri@w3.org]
> > Sent: 16 March 2004 12:57
> > To: Miles, AJ (Alistair)
> > Cc: 'public-esw-thes@w3.org'
> > Subject: Re: Coverage of SKOS-Core 1.0
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > * Miles, AJ (Alistair)  <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk> [2004-03-16 12:41-0000]
> > > 
> > > I believe SKOS-Core is suitable for encoding any type of 
> KOS whose 
> > > fundamental unit may be modelled as a concept.
> > 
> > What is a concept?
> > 
> > Sorry, had to ask...
> > 
> > (might also ask what a fundamental unit is... what's the 
> fundamental 
> > unit of RDF? terms? URIs? resources? classes? hard to tell...)
> > 
> > Dan
> > 
> 
Received on Wednesday, 17 March 2004 11:19:08 GMT

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