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From: Sue Ellen Wright <sellenwright@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 12:48:40 -0400
Message-ID: <e35499310810310948g7c4c1af5jda3bbe68409cf6c7@mail.gmail.com>
To: hburrows@supportingresearch.com
Cc: public-esw-thes@w3.org, "Alistair Miles" <alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk>
Dear colleagues,
Usually I lurk without getting too involved, but this question comes very
close to some distinctions that I've been making in my work. In fact, I look
at the SKOS world as a sub-set of a much larger "cloud" that I call
Knowledge Representation Resources. Howard has just broadened that view.
Some in this group will have heard me invoke the distinction by Svenonius
and Doug Tudhope between subject-purposed vocabulary and language-purposed
vocabulary -- are we talking about *resources about butterflies *(in which
case our instances are books/articles/webpages/etc. that have butterflies as
their object of study), or are we talking about *butterflies* (mostly
beautiful, graceful insects that feed on flower nectar, etc.). Or in
Howard's case, are we talking about the concepts we form in our minds in
order to think about butterflies? And how to we mediate between thought and
language, language and various conceptual representation? If you read
German, Gerhard Budin wrote an extended treatise on the difference between
facts, information, knowledge, and the different ways that we represent
knowledge and data. Of course one of the problems that we have is that these
distinctions are rarely cut and dried, and we also want to be able to create
effective crosswalks between and among related systems. In my own work I
draw distinctions between controlled vocabularies (often called
terminologies), discourse-oriented, often multiligual, terminologies used in
human oral communication and in creating texts, lexicography, and metadata
registries. Depending on your orientation and what you need to do in an
ontology, thesaurus, or taxonomy, you may select SKOS or maybe OWL DL or
rule-informed OWL full. Aside from the fact that SKOS is a well-established
term, and as a terminologist I don't like tinkering with what people think
they already understand, I think that its origins do indeed lie in knowledge
representation for controlled vocabularies. That it can be used for other
applications, such as cognitive conceptual systems, is probably cool, but I
don't see it as a reason to rename the child after it's already established
its identity in the play group. Nevertheless, in one's own work, if
cognitive concepts is the focus rather than labels or term-concept
relations or words, you need to write about that and clarify these
distinctions, in the same way that Svenonius, Doug, and I have been trying
to do that with respect to our (sometimes divergent) approaches.
Best regards
Sue Ellen

On Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 4:31 PM, Howard Burrows <
hburrows@supportingresearch.com> wrote:

>  All,
> I wonder, would it be better to call SKOS SCOS, a "simple concept
> organization scheme"?
> Sorry if this is late and totally inappropriate, but perhaps the use of the
> word "knowledge" in SKOS should be discussed (again?).  Not that the current
> choice is a bad thing, but I expected, and would really like to see, another
> sort of SKOS with a different set of requirements.
> My work involves developing an organization system for distinguishing what
> is "thought" from what is "known".
> You can't be said to "know" anything unless it is an assertion that has the
> right sort of entitling warrant.  There would be other requirements in the
> common "justified, true, belief" notion of knowledge.  Since SKOS doesn't
> seem to address either of these, it might be worth changing the name, or at
> least commenting somewhere in the documentation that there could be a family
> of SKOS recommendations in the future.
> You have an important and well-established community that is quite
> comfortable with the terms as you are using them.  However, I think I would
> prefer to separate schemes for epistemology from those for ontology.
> Howard Burrows, PhD
> Supporting Research
> Durham, NH, USA

Sue Ellen Wright
Institute for Applied Linguistics
Kent State University
Kent OH 44242 USA

Terminology management: There is unfortunately no cure for terminology; you
can only hope to manage it. (Kelly Washbourne)
Received on Friday, 31 October 2008 16:50:12 UTC

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