W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-esw-thes@w3.org > February 2005

RE: Getting back to "terms"...

From: Miles, AJ \(Alistair\) <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2005 13:03:05 -0000
Message-ID: <F5839D944C66C049BDB45F4C1E3DF89D18DB7D@exchange31.fed.cclrc.ac.uk>
To: <public-esw-thes@w3.org>

Hi all,

> >On further reflection, however, I am still bothered by the potential 
> >for confusion between the notion of a "thesaurus term" (a lexical or 
> >natural-language label, which may _sometimes_ also be a descriptor 
> >identifying a concept) and an SKOS or Dublin Core "term" 

I think 'term' on its own is far too overloaded, and would avoid trying to define it - it's only good for informal prose.  

However, I think the following could be usefully defined (some suggestions from me):

'RDF term' (defined precisely in: http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-sparql-query/#TriplePatterns)
'RDF vocabulary' - a set of RDF terms (can't find an existing definition anywhere)
'Natural language term' - a word or phrase used to denote/label a concept.
'Descriptor' - a natural language term that is the preferred label for a concept.
'Non-descriptor' - a natural language term that is the non-preferred (alternative) label for a concept.
'DCMI metadata term' - (Tom how would you define this?  Different from 'RDF term'?)

Cheers,

Al.




> >
> >If the Glossary is to be both SKOS-compatible and 
> >thesaurus-world-compatible, this poses a tricky problem, because I'm 
> >not sure "term" itself can be defined generically enough to 
> encompass 
> >both.
> 
> Yes, it would be a pity if there were confusion, but I do think that 
> this is a SKOS problem, because using the word "term" as 
> equivalent to 
> "concept" is very misleading. We have been struggling for 
> some time to 
> emphasise the distinction between these two things. Is the usage you 
> quote officially recognised by the Dublin Core people too? 
> Can you give 
> a reference?
> 
> >However, one step in the right direction could be to avoid 
> using "term" 
> >itself as a synonym for label (as the glossary currently does). 
> >Instead of equating "term" with "thesaurus term", one could perhaps 
> >define:
> >
> >    thesaurus term
> >        word or phrase used as the label for a concept
> >
> >        Thesaurus terms can be either preferred terms
> >        or non-preferred terms.
> >            or
> >        Thesaurus terms can be either preferred labels or
> >        non-preferred labels.
> >
> >    term
> >        name, word, or phrase used as an identifier or label 
> for a concept
> 
> I don't think that there is sufficient distinction in the definitions 
> you give for "thesaurus term" and "term" for the difference 
> to be clear 
> to the normal reader. I would assume that "thesaurus term" 
> means "a term 
> found in a thesaurus", and I don't think that that adds enough to be 
> worth including.
> 
> >    concept
> >        unit of thought
> >
> >        ...Concepts exist in the mind as abstract entities 
> independent
> >        of the words or phrases used to express them.
> 
> For the moment I have changed this to:
> 
> ... Concepts exist in the mind as abstract entities which are 
> independent of the terms used to label them.
> 
> >    label
> >        words or phrases associated with (or "used to
> >        express"?) an abstract entity
> 
> I don't think that this is sufficiently distinct from "term" 
> as defined 
> above.
> 
> >    identifier
> >        an unambiguous reference to an abstract entity within a given
> >        context
> 
> I know that this has s specialised meaning in SKOS work. If 
> it is to be 
> understood more generally, the definition you give would need to be 
> expanded or clarified with examples.
> 
> I'll copy this to my colleagues Alan and Ron on the BSI 
> working party, 
> in case they have any views. Stella will get it anyway as she 
> is on the 
> SKOS list.
> 
> 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/> 
> -----------------
> 
Received on Monday, 7 February 2005 13:03:37 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 7 December 2009 10:38:53 GMT