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RE: Supporting arrays of concepts : node labels

From: Stella Dextre Clarke <sdclarke@lukehouse.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 18:15:33 +0100
To: "'Ron Davies'" <ron@rondavies.be>, <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000901c435e9$3cf1ace0$0402a8c0@DELL>
Not sure I understand this question. Is it about the sequence among
sibling narrower terms? If so, then very often the sequence does not
matter and alphabetical order is the most convenient. But sometimes
there is a natural order, such as the order of size, or of age, or of
location. Presentation in the natural order helps people to understand
the underlying concepts better, detect omissions, overlaps etc. The
person who determines this is the thesaurus editor. The presentation
becomes even more helpful if node labels are inserted as in Leonard's
example. (In this example, notice that he found a natural order in some
of the groups but not others.)
I hope I've been answering the right question?
Stella Dextre Clarke
Information Consultant
Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
Tel: 01235-833-298
Fax: 01235-863-298

-----Original Message-----
From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Ron Davies
Sent: 09 May 2004 13:26
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org
Subject: RE: Supporting arrays of concepts : node labels

Let me apologize in advance for asking what might be a very naive
question at this stage, but there is a tremendous amount of material to
get through to try to get up to speed on current developments. Stella
brings up an issue that I was just trying to get a grip on, namely, the
sequence in the different concepts presented as of the same property. Is
there any implied sequence among, say, Narrower Terms for a given
concept? If so, what is it (or who determines it) and where is it

Thanks very much.


Ron Davies
Information and documentation systems consultant
Av. Baden-Powell 1  Bte 2, 1200 Brussels, Belgium       
Email:  ron@rondavies.be
Tel:    +32 (0)2 770 33 51
GSM:    +32 (0)484 502 393

At 13:43 9/05/2004, Stella Dextre Clarke wrote:

Firstly, a note of support for Leonard's very thorough explanation of
node labels.

Secondly, re the alternative representations proposed by Alistair and
David Menendez, I'm not quite sure what will work best. I like the way
the array relationships are "semi-detached" from the relationships
between concepts, and I'm glad to see a proposal that allows systematic
rather than alphabetical sequence. To decide which representation is
best, perhaps we should consider how the node labels and arrays will be
used, and what functions need to be supported. I don't see much use for
them in the direct process of information retrieval, but they are useful
during thesaurus browse, when they should facilitate displays of
portions of a thesaurus. A meaningful grouping of terms helps people
choose the right term, either while indexing or while searching. They
are also useful during the process of building a thesaurus.


Stella Dextre Clarke
Information Consultant
Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
Tel: 01235-833-298
Fax: 01235-863-298

-----Original Message-----
From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Miles, AJ
Sent: 06 May 2004 16:18
To: 'Leonard Will'; 'public-esw-thes@w3.org'
Subject: RE: Supporting arrays of concepts : node labels

Hi Leonard,

Thanks for this, yes I was intended the skos:Array construct to cover
your scenario 1 only, i.e. an array of concepts ordered according to
some characteristic of division. 

I think scenario 2 should be handled differently, though I'm not sure
how yet.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Leonard Will
> Sent: 06 May 2004 15:47
> To: 'public-esw-thes@w3.org'
> Subject: Supporting arrays of concepts : node labels
> In message 
> <B56ABE145BEB0C40A265238FCAA420DF01DC8E58@oa2-server.oa.oclc.org> on 
> Wed, 5 May 2004, "Houghton,Andrew" <houghtoa@oclc.org> wrote
> >
> >> From: Miles, AJ (Alistair) [mailto:A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk]
> >> Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 2:21 PM
> >> Subject: Supporting arrays of concepts
> >>
> >>
> >> This is a strawman proposal for addition to the SKOS-Core schema:
> >>
> >> Some thesauri group concepts into ordered arrays, and label the 
> >> array, e.g.
> >>
> >>      People
> >>                <people by age>
> >>                Children (0-12 years)
> >>                Teenagers (13-19 years)
> >>                Adults (over 20 years)
> >>
> >> Since this sort of thing is common practise, and I believe
>  will be a part of
> >>the new British standard for thesauri  (Leonard, Stella?),
> I thought we
> >>ought to come up with a  mechanism for representing it as
> part of the
> >>SKOS-Core vocab.
> Yes, it is in the draft of the new standard. It would be good to have 
> software to handle it properly, as most existing packages are weak in 
> this area.
> >> The problem is the best way to represent an ordered list
> in  RDF.  The
> >>consensus so far seems to be for using RDF Lists
> (collections).  The
> >>other problem is how to connect an array  to the parent
> concept.  Such a
> >>connection cannot replace the  skos:broader statements from
> the array
> >>members, and must be  synchronised with them.
> >This seems like what is called Node Labels and used by AAT and Dewey.

> >Node Labels can be thought of as concepts that participate in the 
> >hierarchy structure but cannot be assigned as concepts.  In
> Dewey, for
> >example, it has the notion of centered entries.  If you look
> at the printed
> >edition these have a > (greater than sign) preceeding the
> class span.  You
> >cannot assign them as a class number but they are present for the 
> >purposes of grouping the hierarchy, as in your example.  Node Labels 
> >have all the same relationships as concepts do, so many
> times they are
> >represented as concepts.
> Unfortunately, the expression "node label" has been used to mean 
> different things in different places. They should not be thought of as

> concepts, because they do not represent concepts, and they do not have

> scope notes or  any of the normal thesaurus relationships. When using 
> software that does not make proper provision for node labels it is 
> sometime necessary to treat them as concepts and give them BT/NT 
> relationships in order to display them in the proper place in a 
> hierarchy, but this is a fudge.
> The AAT uses the expression "guide terms" rather than node labels, and

> includes in this not only real node labels (as described at 1
> below) but
> also terms which represent real concepts but which it thinks are 
> inappropriate for use as indexing terms. This is confusing and 
> misleading; I think that any term used to describe a concept should be

> potentially usable in indexing, though it can have the note "use a 
> more specific concept if possible".
> In the draft British Standard we propose that there should be
> two kinds
> of node label:
> 1. A node label showing a "characteristic of division". This
> is the kind
> shown in the example above, and each label contains the word "by"
> followed by the characteristic by which the elements of the following
> array are distinguished. There may be several arrays under any term,
> each introduced by a separate node label, e.g.
>       people
>           <people by age>
>               children (0-12 years)
>               teenagers (13-19 years)
>               adults (over 20 years)
>           <people by occupation>
>           builders
>           bus drivers
>           information technologists
>           information scientists
>           librarians
>           <people by sex>
>           male people
>               men
>               boys
>           female people
>               women
>               girls
> and so on.
> 2. In a display of a classification, rather than a thesaurus, node 
> labels are used to show where a change of facet occurs, especially 
> when terms from different facets are being combined. They make it
> clear that
> the relationship between the terms preceding and following the node
> label is not BT/NT, but that the following classes are a 
> compound of the
> subsequent concepts with the preceding concept. In the following
> example, the node labels containing the names of facets are given in
> parentheses:
> (organisms)
> mammals [in general]
>       carnivores [in general]
>           leopards
>           lions
>           tigers
>       herbivores [in general]
>           cattle
>           sheep
> (processes)
>       physiological processes [in general]
>           digestion [in general]
>               (organisms)
>               [digestion in] carnivores
>                   [digestion in] lions
>               [digestion in] herbivores
>                   [digestion in] cattle
>                   [digestion in] sheep
>           respiration [in general]
>               (organisms)
>               [respiration in] lions
> The words in square brackets in this example are often omitted in 
> classification schedules, being implied by the indentation or 
> typography.
> I take it that at the moment you are just addressing the issue of node

> labels of type 1.
> >SKOS currently doesn't take Node Label's into account with
> it's prefLabel
> >and altLabel elements.  It is possible that a Node Label
> could have many
> >different altLabel's.  I don't think that you need to add
> additional structure
> >to represent Node Labels.  Perhaps, what is needed is to say that a 
> >concept must have either a group of prefLabel elements
> (xml:lang'ed) or a
> >group of nodeLabel elements (xml:lang'ed) and can have any number of 
> >altLabel elements.  Since Node Labels will also have BT, NT, RT 
> >relationships, you will not need to duplicate that structure
> by reusing
> >skos:Concept.
> How this is implemented technically I'll leave to someone else, but I 
> think you have to be careful and not accept this paragraph literally 
> (at least if you accept our definition of node labels). As a node 
> label is not a label for a concept, there is no underlying concept to 
> which altLabels can be applied.
> Node labels do not have BT, NT or RT relationships, except in
> the fudged
> case I described above to make use of software without the required
> functionality. The BT/NT relationship in effect "jumps over" the node
> label, so that in the first example above the relationship is
> people
> NT    children
>       teenagers
>       adults
>       builders
> etc.,
> and _not_
> people
> NT    <people by age>
> etc.
> Leonard
> -- 
> Willpower Information       (Partners: Dr Leonard D Will, 
> Sheena E Will)
> Information Management Consultants              Tel: +44 
> (0)20 8372 0092
> 27 Calshot Way, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 7BQ, UK. Fax: +44
> (0)870 051 7276
> L.Will@Willpowerinfo.co.uk               
> Sheena.Will@Willpowerinfo.co.uk
> ---------------- <URL:http://www.willpowerinfo.co.uk/> 
> -----------------

Ron Davies
Information and documentation systems consultant
Av. Baden-Powell 1  Bte 2, 1200 Brussels, Belgium       
Email:  ron@rondavies.be
Tel:    +32 (0)2 770 33 51
GSM:    +32 (0)484 502 393
Received on Sunday, 9 May 2004 13:15:48 UTC

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