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Re: [SKOS] The return of ISSUE-44 (was Re: TR : SKOS Reference Editor's Draft 23 December 2007)

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 11:07:42 +0100
Message-ID: <4785EE6E.3070804@mondeca.com>
To: Antoine Isaac <aisaac@few.vu.nl>
Cc: SKOS <public-esw-thes@w3.org>, SWD WG <public-swd-wg@w3.org>

Antoine, and all

> As far as I'm concerned, we are not trying to propose with SKOS a 
> standard that would oblige KOS owners to re-engineer their conceptual 
> structures to fit our whishes. The objective is to easily represent 
> and to publish KOSs. So if there is enough cases of "non-transitive" 
> hierarchies (and I do believe it is the case) then it is a wrong 
> design decision to make skos:broader transitive.
As is well stated in the introduction of the editor's draft, the 
intended use of SKOS, not to support inference, but to support 
indexing/classification, search and retrieval of resources. If you need 
proper knowledge representation and subsumption, use classes, RDFS/OWL. 
If you want your concept hierarchy to match this knowledge 
representation, like some biological taxonomy like in the example of 
Simon, that's OK. If you don't care about it, because the concepts are 
much more fuzzy, that's also OK. I agree with Dan that there is nothing 
wrong with being wrong, if you know that you are wrong - as Confucius 
asserted some time ago  :-) [1].
So let SKOS be strongly agnostic about knowledge representation, in 
order to be as clear as possible on the use of SKOS vs OWL, for example.

Let's not repeat with SKOS what happened with Topic Maps some years ago, 
when TM folks (including myself) attempted to challenge RDF at the 
semantic level, although there is no more formal semantics in Topic Maps 
than in thesauri or other KOS.
> I would actually like to get some feedback on the following point of 
> view, to see whether I'm completely wrong or not. To me, ISO and 
> others are standards that are also intended as guidelines for 
> designing good thesauri, hence their spending much pages on explaining 
> how to properly choose a term and so on. SKOS is different because:
> - it is not a guideline that says in details what makes a good KOS or 
> not for KOSs. We have some recommendations, but the number of 
> constraints is very small.
> - SKOS could be used to represent KOSs that are not thesauri


[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Confucius#Chapter_II
"Shall I teach you about knowledge? What you know, you know, what you 
don't know, you don't know. This is true wisdom."


*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 <mailto:bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Blog:    Lešons de Choses <http://mondeca.wordpress.com/>
Received on Thursday, 10 January 2008 10:08:05 UTC

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