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Re: [PORT] moving SKOS Core fwd

From: Thomas Baker <thomas.baker@bi.fhg.de>
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2005 16:47:05 +0200
To: "Miles, AJ (Alistair)" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Cc: public-swbp-wg@w3.org, public-esw-thes@w3.org
Message-ID: <20050401144705.GA3288@Octavius>

On Tue, Mar 29, 2005 at 12:31:28PM +0100, Alistair Miles wrote:
> [3] http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/spec/ dereferences
> to the latest editor's draft of the SKOS Core Vocabulary
> Specification, which we make a commitment to keep up to date
> with the RDF description SKOS Core.
..
> We'll get URIs for the *public working draft* editions of [2]
> [3] and [4] after a formal request for publication has been
> made to W3C communications team.  This request will be made
> after both the editor's drafts are approved for first public
> working draft by the SWBPD-WG.  I hope to get satisfactory
> editor's drafts done by the end of this week, so they can be
> approved at the telecon thursday 7 April.

Alistair,

In

    SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification
    W3C Editor's Working Draft 2005-03-31
    http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/spec/2005-03-31

I generally approve of the changes.  However, who assigns
status and how is still not quite clear.

To judge from the text, status of the SKOS Core Vocabulary
with respect to the Working Group would seem to be reflected
in the status of the documents in which it is published --
whether it is an Editor's Working Draft, a Public Working
Draft, or a Working Group Note.  What these categories mean,
however, is not described.

One remaining ambiguity is that the Public Working Draft
(and, one presumes, the Working Group Note) are the object of
more extensive "formal review".  However, the latest Editor's
Working Draft -- and the RDF/OWL representation maintained in
sync with the Editor's Working Draft -- are to be considered
the "authoritative" account of the SKOS Core Vocabulary at
any point in time.  It is not clear, then, what this implies
for the status of Public Working Draft or Working Group Note.
As described, it would seem that the Public Working Draft --
although it involves formal review -- is less authoritative
than that of authoritative Editor's Working Draft; in fact, it
might typically be out of sync with the authoritative version.

(As an aside: If the emerging model is one of periodic review
of the entire spec by the entire Working Group, then this seems
a bit problematic.  DCMI handles this question by delegating
authority over changes in the vocabularies to a Usage Board
-- subject to rubber-stamping or veto by the Directorate.
Whenever any change is made in any part of the vocabulary --
a term is added, the status of a term changes, or a comment
is reworded or updated -- a new, versioned description of
that term is created, with a status assigned by the Usage
Board, and a new human-readable document of the entire set of
vocabularies is generated.  That versioned document has the
status of a DCMI Recommendation.  We arrived at that model
after finding it cumbersome and impractical to maintain the
vocabulary as if it were a specification like any other.
I'm sure there's no one best way to do this, but if BPD
WG and, by extension, W3C are considering the longer-term
maintenance of vocabularies, I'm wondering whether some of the
conclusions we reached in DCMI might apply here.  However,
these are big questions with big implications for process,
and therefore a bit out of scope for the task at hand.)

For now, it would suffice to clarify the following: If the
Editor's Working Draft and corresponding RDF/OWL expression
are authoritative, what is the role or function of a Public
Working Draft or, beyond that, of a Working Group Note?
And where does an Editor's Working Draft get its status --
from the Working Group, or the Editor?

Detailed comments below....

Tom




>     Status of this Document
> 
> This section describes the status of this document at the time of its
> publication. Other documents may supersede this document. For the latest
> Editor's Working Draft edition of the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification
> see [http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/spec/]. For the latest Public
> Working Draft edition of the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification see
> [@@TODO].

Maybe this is what the @@TODO refers to, but from the text it
is not quite clear what distinguishes an Editor's Working Draft
from a Public Working Draft.  Since this section describes
the status of the document, an extra sentence about this in the 
first paragraph would be helpful.

> The Working Group intends the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification to
> become a W3C Working Group Note. 

..a third type of document.  The reader wonders how W3C
Working Group Note relates to Public Working Draft and Editor's
Working Draft.  Maybe this typology is described in a document
that could be cited?

> This edition of the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification
> [http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/spec/2005-03-31] is the
> authoritative human-readable account of the SKOS Core Vocabulary at the
> time of publication. For the latest Editor's Working Draft edition of
> the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification see
> [http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/spec/]. For the latest Public
> Working Draft edition of the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification see
> [@@TODO].

Again, not quite clear...  It does seem to say that Editor's
Working Drafts are "authoritative" -- an important point that
would ideally be made in the Status section above.

> A formal representation of the SKOS Core Vocabulary is maintained in
> RDF/OWL [latest: http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core]. Historical
> snapshots of the RDF/OWL description of the SKOS Core Vocabulary can be
> obtained from [http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/history/].

Okay.  Good.

> The SKOS Core Vocabulary is subject to change (see Change Policy
> <#secChange> below). Whenever a change is made to the SKOS Core
> Vocabulary, the RDF/OWL description of the SKOS Core Vocabulary is
> updated, and a new Editor's Working Draft of the SKOS Core Vocabulary
> Specification is generated and published. (The content of the term
> summary tables in this document is generated via a program script from
> the RDF/OWL description of the SKOS Core Vocabulary at the time
> publication). Therefore the resources
> [http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/spec/] and
> [http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core] should be consistent with each
> other at any given time, although there still may on occasion be short
> periods (eg. during Web site publication) during which there are minor
> inconsistencies.

Okay.

> A Public Working Draft edition of the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification
> may only be published after a formal review process by the Working
> Group. Therefore Public Working Draft editions are published less
> frequently, and there may be inconsistencies between the latest Public
> Working Draft edition [@@TODO] and the latest RDF/OWL description of the
> SKOS Core Vocabulary [http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core].

This refers to a "formal review process" but does not really
clarify the difference in status between the Public WD and
the Editor's WD.  What it does clarify is that the "formally
reviewed" draft may often -- even typically -- be out of
sync with the "authoritative" version (i.e., the Editor's
Working Draft).

>     Policy Statements
> 
> *N.B. The Policy Statements described in this specification are a
> best-effort representation of the Working Group's initial thinking and
> intent, and are subject to the caveats described in the Status of this
> Document section. It is intended that this warning be removed after
> further discussion in subsequent iterations of this working draft. Also
> note that W3C gives control over the SKOS Core Vocabulary to working
> groups within the overall framework of the W3C process. Currently that
> control resides with the Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment
> Working Group. When this working group's charter expires, control will
> revert to W3C as an organization.*

The points starting with "Also note..." seem like things that
should ideally be said in the opening Status section.

>       Maintenance
> 
> The SKOS Core Vocabulary is hosted and maintained by W3C. At the time of
> writing, W3C has delegated management of the SKOS Core Vocabulary to the
> Semantic Web Best Practices WG, whose chairs have in turn have delegated
> these responsibilities to the editors of this specification (Alistair
> Miles and Dan Brickley). The Working Group is committed to establishing
> clear expectations around the management of RDF vocabularies, through
> documentation of process and maintenance policies. This is itself an
> evolving process. Specifically, this document is itself situated within
> the W3C Process, and may change and evolve in the light of feedback on
> SKOS Core and on the SKOS Core policy statements. It should be noted
> that claims made by the Working Group using the (experimental)
> persistence and change terminology employed here have as their scope the
> currently chartered Working Group. They have only draft status within
> the wider W3C Process. W3C has not delegated to the WG any authority to
> make binding commitments on behalf of W3C beyond those implicit in the
> formal W3C Process.

Okay, good.

> The Working Group is committed to a public, consensus-driven design
> environment for SKOS Core, and to this end conducts SKOS-related
> discussion in public, in particular drawing on feedback from the
> Semantic Web Interest Group mailing list public-esw-thes@w3.org.

Again, since the points in the two paragraphs above
relate to status, it might be helpful to fold those points
into a consolidated Status section.  Or does the Status /
Maintenance distinction follow a fixed template for working
drafts? Would it be permissible to merge the two into a Status
and Maintenance section?


-- 
Dr. Thomas Baker                        Thomas.Baker@izb.fraunhofer.de
Institutszentrum Schloss Birlinghoven         mobile +49-160-9664-2129
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft                          work +49-30-8109-9027
53754 Sankt Augustin, Germany                    fax +49-2241-144-2352
Personal email: thbaker79@alumni.amherst.edu
Received on Friday, 1 April 2005 14:43:23 GMT

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