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

RE: Comments on SKOS Core Guide & Quick Guide

From: Stella Dextre Clarke <sdclarke@lukehouse.demon.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 16:50:18 -0000
To: "'Miles, AJ \(Alistair\)'" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>, <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002d01c50234$c9246e10$0700a8c0@DELL>

I agree with Al's clarification of the difference between a scope note
and a definition. I could add that indexers and searchers find scope
notes particularly helpful for choosing between two or more descriptors
when their scopes appear to overlap. 

But unfortunately one cannot go on to infer that a scope note and a
definition will not co-occur. I know of some scholarly thesauri which
give definitions from 3 or more sources (usually all differing), as well
as a scope note, for a single descriptor. The key point  is that the
scope note is always clarifying the meaning for the retrieval purposes
of the vocabulary in question, whereas the definition(s) in a thesaurus
can have other uses.

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: 24 January 2005 14:59
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org
Subject: RE: Comments on SKOS Core Guide & Quick Guide

Mark wrote:
> I was wondering about the difference between skos:scopeNote and 
> skos:definition (and also editorialNote/changeNote). Thesauri in the 
> ISO 2788 format only have a scope note (i.e. the scope note is the
> definition). Their difference may become clearer if an example
> containing both a scope note and a definition is included. 
> Also, people
> migrating from an ISO thesaurus need to be aware that their ScopeNotes
> should probably be migrated to skos:definition.

The intention is that a definition is a 'statement or formal explanation
of the meaning of a concept' (i.e. is supposed to be a *complete*
explanation of the meaning of the concept) whereas a scope note is a
'note that helps to clarify the meaning of a concept' (i.e. a statement
of what the meaning of the concept includes or does not include, but not
a complete explanation of the meaning of a concept).  In other words, a
'scope note' says something about what is 'in or out of scope' for a
particular concept.  A definition is supposed to describe (fully) the
'scope' of a concept.

This means that, if a concept has a definition, it should not need a
scope note (i.e. the two properties should never co-occur).  

An example of a scope note:

Concept [ 
	preferred label: Europe 
	scope note: includes Russia 

An example of a definition:

Concept [
	preferred label: Europe
	definition: The sixth-largest continent, extending west from the
Dardanelles, Black Sea, and Ural Mountains. It is technically a vast
peninsula of the Eurasian land mass. ]

Does this usage seem reasonable?  A better explanation of this in the


Received on Monday, 24 January 2005 16:50:16 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 2 March 2016 13:32:05 UTC