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Re: notes at contepts vs notes at terms

From: Sue Ellen Wright <sellenwright@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 10:13:11 -0500
Message-ID: <e35499310511010713p3fa6c1edv480b25bc756130b5@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Miles, AJ (Alistair)" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Cc: Mark van Assem <mark@cs.vu.nl>, public-esw-thes@w3.org
I do agree with the rant on the word "term". That doesn't mean that there
should be a note related to whatever you choose to use instead (lable?). But
the word "term" is very problematic because each community of practice uses
it in a different way.
 Sue Ellen

 On 10/26/05, Miles, AJ (Alistair) <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk> wrote:
>
>
> Hi Mark,
>
> > Note that I'm referring to use cases other than annotation for
> > document retrieval, for which I agree you should annotate with the
> > concept, not the term.
>
> Can you please describe these use cases in detail, explaining in each case
> exactly what it is you want to be able to assert, what those assertions
> would mean, and what exactly is the nature of the resources involved in
> those assertions.
>
> > These are just additional arguments on top of
> > the "we need a Term class to attach properties to" argument
>
> What are these properties? Please list, with an explanation of the meaning
> of any assertions made using them.
>
> Fwiw ...
>
> 'Term' is the most hideous word. It means a million different things to a
> million different people. A 'term' from a controlled vocabulary, and a
> 'term' from a terminology are *completely different things* [1][2]. In
> metadata applications, 'terms' can be properties of things, or values of
> those properties, or classes of things, or meaningless strings, or all of
> the above - cf. the 'Dublin Core Metadata Terms' [3]. The SKOS Core
> Vocabulary Specification [4] uses 'term' to refer to the classes and
> properties of the SKOS Core Vocabulary itself, a usage that is consistent
> with Dublin Core and other RDF documentation.
>
> Because of this incredibly overloaded usage in overlapping fields of
> discourse, the SKOS Core Guide [5] contains virtually no occurrences of the
> character string 'term' in prose. This is *very* deliberate. (I just found a
> couple that slipped through, doh.)
>
> The lesson Dublin Core folks have learned is: be precise. The meaning of
> several of the properties of the dublin core element set is now so
> overloaded in practice as to render them effectively meaningless. This is a
> huge problem for the DCMI architecture and usage teams.
>
> If we were to coin a class 'Term' for SKOS Core, I'm quite certain that
> the incredible variation that would be found in its practical usage would
> render it, and all the associated parts of SKOS Core, effectively
> meaningless. We would be contributing confusion to an already very confused
> field of discourse.
>
> Bottom line: If you can define a class of resources that isn't called
> 'Term', whose meaning is clear and easily defined, whose application is
> straightforward and unambiguous, and whose supporting use cases can be
> justified by a significant body of practice, then great, let's talk about
> it.
>
> If you can't, think outside the box. Think about n-ary relations. If
> you're finding it hard to define the nature (i.e. type) of the things
> you're trying to relate, perhaps you're conflating resources. Perhaps what
> you understand as a 'thesaurus term' is actually an instance of an n-ary
> relationship between several things. If you don't like n-ary relations, make
> an effort to differentiate what you mean by the word 'term' in all the
> different contexts in which you use it, then start defining classes from
> there. I'll bet you end up with about 12 classes, almost all of which are
> disjoint.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Al.
>
>
>
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-esw-thes/2005Oct/0114.html
> [2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-esw-thes/2005Oct/0085.html
> [3] http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-terms/
> [4] http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-swbp-skos-core-spec-20050510/
> [5] http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-swbp-skos-core-guide-20050510/
>
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Mark van Assem [mailto:mark@cs.vu.nl]
> > Sent: 26 October 2005 12:01
> > To: Miles, AJ (Alistair)
> > Cc: public-esw-thes@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: notes at contepts vs notes at terms
> >
> >
> > Hi Alistair,
> >
> > > I don't know how to say this without sounding like an arse
> > ... but I'm pretty sure that what you're suggesting
> > contradicts the basic principles of thesaurus construction
> > and use, as I've learned them from ISO 2788, the new BS 8723,
> > and directly from folks like Stella and Leonard.
> >
> > Probably you're right, but I think that some of the thesaurus
> > folk are
> > in favour of having a Term class for the reason of attaching
> > properties to them. The result is that you can have URIs for
> > them, and
> > use the terms in the ways I suggest. And I guess that if people find
> > those useful, they *will*, no matter what any standard is saying. And
> > I don't think they would be wrong in doing so.
> >
> > > ... then thesaurus T term <rock> and thesaurus T term
> > <basalt> are semantically equivalent tokens.
> >
> > Yep, in the thesaurus they are, just like (I think) in WN the
> > WordSenses are equivalent within one Synset. But for some practical
> > uses (which you agreed to exist for WordSenses) they are not.
> >
> > > Therefore, 'annotating' a document with the thesaurus T
> > term <basalt> is semantically equivalent to 'annotating' the
> > document with the thesarus T term <rock>. Therefore, there's
> > no point in doing it.
> >
> > Would someone using that thesaurus agree that <basalt> and <rock> are
> > equivalent?
> >
> > > If you want to say something more specific, using a
> > thesaurus, then you need a thesaurus that has <basalt> as a
> > preferred term.
> >
> > But if there isn't any?
> >
> > > Alternatively, use free text keyword annotations.
> >
> > Note that I'm referring to use cases other than annotation for
> > document retrieval, for which I agree you should annotate with the
> > concept, not the term.
> >
> > > The words 'rock' and 'basalt' may have quite different
> > meanings to you when used in natural language discourse, but
> > that is completely irrelevant. The word 'rock', and thesarus
> > T term <rock>, are entirely separate entities.
> > >
> > >
> > >>A more probable/useful scenario is that a prefterm in one
> > >>language is mapped to
> > >>a nonpref term in another, because it is a more accurate
> > >>translation of the
> > >>word. It enables a more finegrained mapping than just between
> > >>concepts.
> > >
> > >
> > > If you are talking about semantic mapping, then whether you
> > choose thesaurus T term <rock> or thesaurus T term <basalt>
> > as your mapping target makes no difference to the meaning of
> > the mapping, because thesaurus T term <rock> and thesaurus T
> > term <basalt> are semantically equivalent tokens. Therefore,
> > if you are talking about semantic mapping, it is not possible
> > to create a 'more fine-grained mapping' than that which is
> > possible by mapping between the concepts.
> >
> > Not on the concept level, but it is possible on the term level?
> >
> > What is wrong with stating that prefTerm A in language X is usually
> > displayed/used in texts/... in language Y with nonPrefTerm B?
> > It gives
> > you additional information that you are free to ignore, because the
> > concept-to-concept mappings are implied by term-to-term mappings
> > (well, if you define your mapping vocabulary in that way). It
> > may help
> > e.g. in translation or displays.
> >
> > Maybe this is not extremely useful, but I don't see anything
> > fundamentally wrong with it, either.
> >
> > >>A first use is if you are really interested in that specific
> > >>term instead of its
> > >>synonyms. For example if you want to count the number of
> > >>times a certain concept
> > >>is misspelled. Or counting the # occurences of a specific term.
> > >
> > >
> > > How can you misspell a 'concept'? What are you counting
> > exactly? What do you mean by an 'occurrence of a specific term'?
> >
> > A concept cannot be misspelled because it is nameless. You are
> > counting the terms, not the concept.
> >
> > > N.B. A word, or collocations of words, that appears in a
> > natural language document, and a thesaurus term that shares
> > an identical character sequence, are entirely separate
> > entities. The fact that they share an identical character
> > sequence allows you to infer absolutely nothing at all.
> >
> > Why not? Of course you may need to assume that the meaning of
> > term and
> > word overlap, but I think that programmers might just do that.
> >
> > > Am I making any sense?
> >
> > I can see perfectly clear where you're coming from, and my use cases
> > may turn out to be complete DB after all, but I do think that people
> > would try to (ab)use a thesaurus in all kinds of ways, and would not
> > be wrong in doing so. These are just additional arguments on top of
> > the "we need a Term class to attach properties to" argument (which is
> > probably a more compelling argument). And, if we do introduce a Term
> > class, they are possible uses which we cannot prohibit.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Mark.
> >
> > --
> > Mark F.J. van Assem - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
> > mark@cs.vu.nl - http://www.cs.vu.nl/~mark
> >
>
>


--
Sue Ellen Wright
Institute for Applied Linguistics
Kent State University
Kent OH 44242 USA
sellenwright@gmail.com
swright@kent.edu
sewright@neo.rr.com
Received on Tuesday, 1 November 2005 15:14:21 GMT

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