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scope notes and definitions

From: Miles, AJ (Alistair) <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 10:35:41 -0000
Message-ID: <F5839D944C66C049BDB45F4C1E3DF89D18DB5A@exchange31.fed.cclrc.ac.uk>
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org

> 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.

I think we are OK here, by virtue of the previous discussion of

I.e. A concept *should* have no more than one definition per language
(because the more definitions you have for a concept, the less well
specified it becomes).  And a concept *should not* have a scope note in
addition to a definition, because the information in the scope note should
be included in the definition if the definition is to be 'complete'.
These two 'constraints' should be declared I think, because they express
elements of good practice.  A validation tool could throw 'warnings' if they
are violated.  However, there is of course nothing to stop somebody
publishing a concept in RDF using SKOS Core with 6 definitions and 4 scope

So what I am saying is, we use 'constraints' to encourage good practice, but
the inherent flexibility of RDF means that SKOS Core can equally be used in
situations where people want to diverge from what we consider to be 'good

Does this sound OK?


> Stella
> *****************************************************
> Stella Dextre Clarke
> Information Consultant
> Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
> Tel: 01235-833-298
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> *****************************************************
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org
> [mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Miles, AJ
> (Alistair)
> 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
> guide?
> Cheers,
> Al.
Received on Tuesday, 25 January 2005 10:36:15 UTC

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