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Re: ISSUE-160: Allowing collections in semantic relationships

From: Stephen Bounds <km@bounds.net.au>
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2008 08:44:51 +1100
Message-ID: <494AC453.4070109@bounds.net.au>
To: SKOS <public-esw-thes@w3.org>

Hi Tamara,

This is almost exactly my interpretation of SKOS as well.

I also support Antoine's position of keeping things as simple as 
possible, with the possibility of well-defined extensions.


-- Stephen.

Lopez, Tamara wrote:
> Hello all,
> Sorry to jump in here late, but I've only just had a moment to
> properly work through this thread, and I can't resist throwing a
> couple of observations on the pile...
> Since I've been experimenting with SKOS, I've wondered just *what* it
> intends to exchange.  Does it exchange a 'tool' for organising
> resources or 'data' about such a tool?  My impression, which has
> largely been confirmed by this thread, is that it is the latter.
> If so, then it seems to me that the use of semantic terms like
> collection, broader than, narrower than *are* primarily to be used to
> articulate documentary (and therefore presentational) information
> about KO systems, and that labels for these concepts may have only a
> tenuous link to what these concepts mean or how they behave in the
> actual KOS itself.
> Is my understanding correct?
> If so, my second question is , what uses should these SKOS
> representations be expected to support? We've seen some examples of
> linking to create a network of sorts between similiarly
> pre-synthesized concepts in other schemes (I'm primarily referring to
> the gene database). These networks are formed between the URIs, and
> do not seem to be doing very much with the relationships expressed in
> the SKOS (if my understanding is correct).  What is the depth of such
> a network, and doesn't it depend quite heavily on tacit agreement
> between different organisations' interpretation of 'Concept'?
> Can a SKOS file be used  as Christophe Dupriez suggested for
> distributed (I assume machine) indexing and retrieval?  My impression
> is no.  In my own use of the standard for a simple indexing/retrieval
> system[1], it was the unformalised principles of how the tool worked
> that needed to be exchanged (even between areas of our application
> stack) in order to digitally recreate the KOS.
> In our implementation, a lot of the 'knowledge' remained in our
> heads, was tacitly expressed via material aspects of the format[2] or
> was written into surrounding software.  In fact, as Aida has
> suggested, we primarily used our SKOS as an artifact of modeling - a
> diagram of sorts that people could quickly grasp and talk (or write)
> around while implementing algorithms that employed various principles
> of the taxonomy.  In fact it worked well in this role, but I didn't
> finish the project feeling that the SKOS we had produced was a tool,
> nor that it alone could be shared in a meaningful way with others who
> wanted to use it for a similar purpose[3].
> If my observer take on the situation is correct, then I'd just like
> to conclude by agreeing with the sentiments expressed in this thread
> about the need to look at older forms and systems for some guidance
> as SKOS moves forward and to suggest that the primer should carefully
> communicate  the utility of the standard to potential adopters.
> Regards, Tamara
> [1] built using an earlier version of the Primer and Recommendation
> and expressed using SKOS RDF/XML.  Indexers were applying
> pre-coordinated subject strings via notation to resources, strings
> were composed of three terms, second and third level terms could
> belong to more than one 'class', and in retrieval, the class order
> was not fixed - users could access the hierarchy from any point. [2]
> the presence of children or parents, idiosyncratic use of attributes,
> and even the direction in which we designed the SKOS  tree to be
> processed. [3] And this was partly due, I'm sure, to weaknesses in
> our interpretation of the standard- not to weaknesses in the standard
> itself.
> -- Tamara Lopez Centre for Computing in the Humanities King's College
> London 26-29 Drury Lane London WC2B 5RL (UK) Tel: +44 (0)20 78481237 
> http://www.kcl.ac.uk/cch
Received on Thursday, 18 December 2008 21:45:51 UTC

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