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RE: RE : Issue : unicity of prefLabel per language per concept scheme

From: Sini, Margherita (KCEW) <Margherita.Sini@fao.org>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 16:41:32 +0100
To: Stella Dextre Clarke <sdclarke@lukehouse.demon.co.uk>, Antoine Isaac <Antoine.Isaac@KB.nl>, Alasdair Gray <agray@dcs.gla.ac.uk>, SKOS <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Cc: public-swd-wg@w3.org
Message-id: <BA453B6B6B217B4D95AF12DBA0BFB669029DADEC@hqgiex01.fao.org>
Hi all,
I also like this topic as I had to deal with it a lot of times... working
with AGROVOC in 18 languages....
My suggestions:
1) disambiguate the label inside the vocabulary itself: 
    example "canyon (planet)" and "canyon (satellite)"
Not very elegant and this may be complicated for searching, mappings, etc.
2) just leave the possibility of duplicating strings.... and leave the
applications to disambiguate by asking the user to disambiguate....
I know this may be revolutionary, maybe also is going agains the ISO
rules..., but i think that this depends on the use we want to make of the
thesauri: if the future is to make URI or concept indexing/searching and not
anymore string-indexing, then this solution may be acceptable...
The applications can tell the user, when he enter  "canyon", "do you mean
planet canyon or satellite canyon?" and this can be done by taking in
consideration the broad concept....
Is possible in SKOS to have this duplications on the labels? I think depends
only on the applications that manage the SKOS data.... In any case there is
no ambiguities as far as the definition of a concept(term) is given with BT,
NT, RT and alternativeLabels... 
3) add as Stella was mentioning an element or attribute or something that
helps on identifying the context... although i think the BT may be enough...
In any case I do not think that within a language or across languages is a
problem... Because if we can allow duplications between languages (e.g. Burro
in Spanish, and Burro in Italian), why we cannot also allow duplications
within a language (e.g. "bank" and "bank" -of the river- in English) ? 
By the way, to solve the canyon problem I have also an idea: although I know
that multiple BT are not to be preferred... would anyway be possible to make
a unique term (or concept) "canyon" be related (whatever the relations is BT,
RT...) to both planet and also satellite? I mean, do not have 2 prefLabels,
but have only 1 as there will be a unique concept...
Just a though...

	-----Original Message-----
	From: public-swd-wg-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-swd-wg-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Stella Dextre Clarke
	Sent: 07 December 2007 18:20
	To: 'Antoine Isaac'; 'Alasdair Gray'; 'SKOS'
	Cc: public-swd-wg@w3.org
	Subject: RE: RE : Issue : unicity of prefLabel per language per
concept scheme
	Just a brief comment on the proposal below. I have a lot of sympathy
with the general sentiment, but some doubts about simply treating the
notation as another language version. Why not introduce it straightforwardly
as notation, another (optional) element of SKOS? Some thesauri (especially
multilingual ones) have a notation as well as terms, so would sometimes use
it. Classification schemes would almost all use it. Some taxonomies would use
it. Of course, the different vocabulary types may each use it in slightly
different ways! (For example, in MeSH, a given term may have more than one
	The general guideline would be something like: "Each concept should
have either a prefLabel which is unique within any one language, or a unique
notation." There would need to be an explanation somewhere of whether the
notation or the prefLabel was to be used for purposes of conveying
	All the best

	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 Antoine Isaac
		Sent: 03 December 2007 11:19
		To: Alasdair Gray; SKOS
		Cc: public-swd-wg@w3.org
		Subject: RE : Issue : unicity of prefLabel per language per
concept scheme

		I bumped into the same problem as well with a classification
scheme. But it had actually context-independent labels in addition to the
context-dependent ones, so I could deal with it, even though in a
not-that-satisfactory way.
		Notice however that the sentence Bernard quotes is only about
		"It is recommended that no two concepts in the same concept
scheme be
		given the same preferred lexical label in any given
		My guess is that a SKOS validator would just issue warnings
when the situation occurs.
		Also, an important point: the sentence is not even in the
SKOS current reference draft [1]!
		Perhaps we could change the sentence, wherever it appears in
the end, to fit the usual classification scheme situation as Stella presents
it. I would propose something like
		"It is recommended that there is one language for which no
two concepts in the same concept scheme be
		given the same preferred lexical label."
		assuming that the notation language is this language, for
classification schemes (btw I always use the zxx language tag for notations)
		Now, for vocabularies that do not have unique prefLabels,
even taking into account notations, my first reaction would be similar to
Alasdair's: are such "canyon" and "canyon" concepts really distinct in the
end? ;-)

		-------- Message d'origine--------
		De: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org de la part de Alasdair
		Date: lun. 03/12/2007 11:39
		└: SKOS
		Objet : RE: Issue : unicity of prefLabel per language per
concept scheme
		I have come across the same issue in the astronomy
vocabularies that I have been working on. As yet, I have not come up with a
good solution either.
		I did try using preferred label with no context path
information, but this proved to be very confusing in the user interface that
I am preparing (where currently just a list of preferred labels is shown):
there was no way to distinguish between a Canyon on the surface of a planet
and a Canyon on the surface of a satellite. However, I agree that including
the context in the preferred label is cumbersome.
		One thing that I have not completely cleared up in my own
mind yet is whether the concepts are really disjoint. After all, in the
astronomy situation, a canyon is a canyon whether it is on a planet or a
satellite. In this situation, would some sort of compound label which uses
both canyon and planet/satellite make sense (this hopefully can be easily
translated into the child custody example or are your concepts actually
		Alasdair J G Gray
		Research Associate: Explicator Project

		Computer Science, University of Glasgow
		0141 330 6292
		-----Original Message-----
		From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Bernard Vatant
		Sent: 3 December 2007 09:54
		To: SKOS
		Subject: Issue : unicity of prefLabel per language per
concept scheme
		I've several current SKOS use cases making me wondering about
		recommendation in

		"It is recommended that no two concepts in the same concept
scheme be
		given the same preferred lexical label in any given
		This recommendation follows the thesaurus standard practice,
but other
		types of structured vocabularies which seem to be in the
scope of SKOS
		don't follow this practice. I've in mind controlled
vocabularies in law,
		where the same term is used in different contexts to label
		concepts, the disambiguation being by context. The context
itself is
		usually formally represented by a path to the concept in the
		broader-narrower tree, e.g., the following are four distinct
		all using the term "Children custody" in different contexts,
but in the
		same Concept Scheme "Divorce".
		Contentious divorce: Temporary arrangements: Children custody
		Contentious divorce: Definitive arrangements: Children
		Non-contentious divorce: Temporary arrangements: Children
		Non-contentious divorce: Definitive arrangements: Children
		In such cases, encapsulating the context in the prefLabel
string is
		rapidly cumbersome in interfaces, the context chain can
		arbitrarily long in such matters.
		How would one SKOS-ify such a vocabulary? If "Children
custody" is used
		as prefLabel, the recommendation of unicity is obviously
broken, if not,
		what should be the recommended value of prefLabel?
		*Bernard Vatant
		*Knowledge Engineering
		*3, citÚ Nollez 75018 Paris France
		Web:    www.mondeca.com <http://www.mondeca.com>
		Tel:       +33 (0) 871 488 459
		Mail:     bernard.vatant@mondeca.com
		Blog:    Lešons de Choses <http://mondeca.wordpress.com/>

Received on Tuesday, 11 December 2007 15:42:03 UTC

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