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RE: scope notes and definitions

From: Stella Dextre Clarke <sdclarke@lukehouse.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 14:27:58 -0000
To: "'Miles, AJ \(Alistair\)'" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Cc: <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <004701c5047c$66e64530$0700a8c0@DELL>

Alistair,
Not sure of the implications of "formal constraints". Like you, I wish
thesauri just had one definition per concept per language, assuming the
use context is information retrieval *only*. (In fact, no definition is
usually needed if there is a scope note.) However, there are sometimes
good reasons for "added value" in a thesaurus, e.g. supporting scholarly
work in the domain concerned. And it is important that the people doing
this work should be able to exchange their data efficiently. Definitions
are not uncommon in the thesaurus world, although usually unnecessary
for retrieval purposes. I'd like the standards for data exchange to
allow multiple definitions per concept when appropriate. Hopefully the
compilers will follow the sort of good practice that will be recommended
in BS8723, e.g. show the source of each definition. Also, good thesauri
have a text introduction explaining the context of their work.

I leave it to you to work out how all that is best handled.
thanks
Stella 

*****************************************************
Stella Dextre Clarke
Information Consultant
Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
Tel: 01235-833-298
Fax: 01235-863-298
SDClarke@LukeHouse.demon.co.uk
*****************************************************



-----Original Message-----
From: Miles, AJ (Alistair) [mailto:A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk] 
Sent: 27 January 2005 13:56
To: 'Stella Dextre Clarke'
Cc: 'public-esw-thes@w3.org'
Subject: RE: scope notes and definitions


Hi Stella,

So do you think we should remove any 'formal constraints' on the usage
of skos:definition and skos:scopeNote?

Cheers,

Al. 


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Stella Dextre Clarke [mailto:sdclarke@lukehouse.demon.co.uk]
> Sent: 26 January 2005 15:30
> To: 'Miles, AJ (Alistair)'
> Subject: RE: scope notes and definitions
> 
> 
> Al,
> You may think that a thesaurus should offer no more than one 
> definition
> per concept per language, and I understand why you think it, but in
> reality some thesauri offer several. I suppose you could 
> argue that they
> are definitions of the term rather than the concept. But very 
> often they
> are all definitions of the same concept, although some are longer than
> others. In some cases they are pointers to definitions found 
> elsewhere,
> but this is not much different from spelling the definition 
> out in full.
> Just spend a little time studying the AAT, and you may get an insight
> into what they are doing and why. (The AAT is a widely respected,
> influential and well-known thesaurus)
> http://www.getty.edu/research/conducting_research/vocabularies/aat/
> 
> Stella
> 
> *****************************************************
> Stella Dextre Clarke
> Information Consultant
> Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
> Tel: 01235-833-298
> Fax: 01235-863-298
> SDClarke@LukeHouse.demon.co.uk
> *****************************************************
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Miles, AJ
> (Alistair)
> Sent: 25 January 2005 10:36
> To: public-esw-thes@w3.org
> Subject: scope notes and definitions
> 
> 
> 
> 
> > 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 
> 'constraints'.
> 
> 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 notes. 
> 
> 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 practice'. 
> 
> Does this sound OK?
> 
> Al.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> > Stella
> > 
> > *****************************************************
> > Stella Dextre Clarke
> > Information Consultant
> > Luke House, West Hendred, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8RR, UK
> > Tel: 01235-833-298
> > Fax: 01235-863-298
> > SDClarke@LukeHouse.demon.co.uk
> > *****************************************************
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > -----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 Thursday, 27 January 2005 14:27:57 GMT

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