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RE: What is a concept?

From: Stella Dextre Clarke <sdclarke@lukehouse.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 16:56:23 -0000
To: "'Miles, AJ (Alistair) '" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Cc: <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000b01c40c40$c796b700$0402a8c0@DELL>

Al,
Yes, I am generally encouraged that we are making progress towards
convergence. ( And all sorts of people who should know better use
thesaurus-speak badly, so you are right to be cautious.) Was my earlier
point also clear, that it works slightly differently in classification
schemes? In the latter form of KOS, the only thing you can use reliably
as a label is the notation. The captions (or class names, or subject
headings as somebody called them) do not have exactly the same function
as the terms in a thesaurus, because they are not necessarily unique. If
you move on to those KOS called taxonomies, it is even more confusing
because people use this word for all sorts of things, and there is no
standard to define best practice.
Stella

*****************************************************
Stella Dextre Clarke
Information Consultant
Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
Tel: 01235-833-298
Fax: 01235-863-298
SDClarke@LukeHouse.demon.co.uk
*****************************************************



-----Original Message-----
From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Miles, AJ
(Alistair) 
Sent: 17 March 2004 16:15
To: 'Stella Dextre Clarke'
Cc: 'public-esw-thes@w3.org'
Subject: RE: What is a concept?



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
> Fax: 01235-863-298
> SDClarke@LukeHouse.demon.co.uk
> *****************************************************
> 
> 
> 
> -----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 11:56:16 GMT

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