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RE: What about "taxonomies"? RE: Glossary of terms relating to thesauri and faceted classification

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 14:07:21 +0100
To: "SKOS" <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GOEIKOOAMJONEFCANOKCEEEKFIAA.bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>


> I quite agree with you that it would be much better if we could leave
> the term "taxonomy" to the biologists. Unfortunately it has become
> fashionable, though as you say it is not clear what its definition
> should be, which is the reason why there is no definition for it yet in
> the glossary on my Web page.

Fair enough.

> Personally I think its use often conceals some woolly thinking by people
> who are not quite sure whether they are talking about a thesaurus, a
> classification scheme or some combination of these. The combined schemes
> are important, because I like the "unified" approach, where a set of
> defined concepts can be arranged (a) alphabetically, with relationships
> listed under each; (b) hierarchically, based on BT/NT relationships; and
> (c) in classified groupings and sequences bringing together concepts
> relating to the same subject area, i.e. as a faceted classification
> scheme.


> Perhaps "concept scheme" is sufficiently broad to cover all possible
> different structures of concepts and their relationships - is there a
> formal definition of "skos:ConceptScheme"?

The current definition in SKOS Core is "A set of concepts forming a coherent scheme".
I won't call that really a "formal definition". But (Alistair please correct me if I am
wrong) it has been kept deliberately so, as unformal and generic as can be, in order to
cover a wide range of legacy ...

> I'd be interested in any recommendations for a precise definition of
> "taxonomy" in the wider sense. At present I'm inclined to define it with
> my tongue in my cheek as "a classification scheme, typically used for
> Web sites, designed without regard to established and consistent
> principles".

I can live with such a definition. Not sure "taxonomy software" vendors would buy it as
easily, though ;-)



Bernard Vatant
Senior Consultant
Knowledge Engineering

"Making Sense of Content" :  http://www.mondeca.com
"Everything is a Subject" :  http://universimmedia.blogspot.com

Received on Wednesday, 2 February 2005 13:07:36 UTC

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