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Use case : issues with unicity of skos:prefLabel

From: Bernard vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2006 13:19:49 +0200
Message-ID: <45375F55.8090701@mondeca.com>
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org

Hello all

Some news from the business front. I'm currently dealing with a large 
(and complex) terminology developed by a legal publisher (Lexis Nexis 
France). This terminology will be used mainly for indexing and automatic 
index generation.
This terminology is not built as a thesaurus, one of its main 
characteristic is that it is not a unique namespace : the same term can 
be used several times with different semantics, the disambiguation being 
made by its position in the broader-narrower hierarchy - which is always 
displayed in any index publication, so the term is never used "out of 

For example you will have that kind of hierarchy in the index (the 
actual terms are in french ...)

Civil procedure
    General principles
        Procedure action

It's clear that "Notification" is likely to be not unique in the index. 
So if we want a unique identifying name for each index entry, the 
context has to be included. The solution we have come up to, is to mark 
as "context terms" the terms which disambiguate their descendants . In 
this case "Civil procedure" and "Procedure action" are declared as 
context terms, but "General principles" is not (it's useless for 
disambiguation). Hence the identifying string of Notification should be 
something like : "Civil procedure: Procedure action: Notification". A 
kind of post-coordination based on hierarchy, if you like.

My question is : if we want to represent that in SKOS, what should be 
the practice?

Using "Civil procedure: Procedure action: Notification" as 
skos:prefLabel seems unavoidable if one wants unicity of prefLabel, 
since all entries belong to the same conceptScheme. But actually 
wherever it will be used, the label of this concept will be 
"Notification". So, strictly speaking, "Notification" is a sort of 
"preferred label of the term in its context of use". It's not a synonym 
stricto sensu, it can have synonyms specific to this context, like 
"Procedure notification", so making "Notification" a skos:altLabel would 
be somehow confusing.
In topic maps (and in Mondeca ITM too) we have the cool notion of  
"display Name". Would not be skos:displayLabel a good idea in that case? 
I vaguely remember this property has been discussed at some point. Then 
we would have

skos:prefLabel              Civil procedure: Procedure action: Notification
skos:displayLabel          Notification
skos:altLabel                 Procedure notification


*Bernard Vatant
*Knowledge Engineering
*Mondeca **
*3, cité Nollez 75018 Paris France
Web: www.mondeca.com <http://www.mondeca.com>
Tel. +33 (0) 871 488 459 
Mail: bernard.vatant@mondeca.com <mailto:bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Wikipedia:universimmedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Universimmedia>
Received on Thursday, 19 October 2006 11:19:56 UTC

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