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Re: Scientific and common names in SKOS

From: Leonard Will <L.Will@willpowerinfo.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2008 12:43:33 +0100
Message-ID: <QslExeElDh4IFAbz@mail.willpowerinfo.co.uk>
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org

On Tue, 30 Sep 2008 at 08:00:35, "Sini, Margherita (KCEW)" 
<Margherita.Sini@fao.org> wrote
>The problem is that I wish not to use altLabels for scientific names, 
>because the concept may have actually many more others altLabels... In 
>fact i wish that people while indexing or searching documents, they 
>could use a common name OR a scientific name based in their needs (a 
>document on a receipt of potato or a scientific treaty on the species).

In a well-structured indexing and retrieval system with a linked 
thesaurus, it should be possible to retrieve documents by searching on 
preferred _or_ non-preferred (alt) terms. That is the reason for having 
altLabels. The "preferred" term is somewhat arbitrarily chosen (though 
for this purpose we try to choose the term most likely to be sought), to 
act as a label for the concept and to link it with documents being 

If an indexer seeks to use an altLabel when linking a concept to a 
document, the system should automatically use the prefLabel in 
constructing the link. It may or may not tell the indexer that it has 
done this. (It may in fact use a concept number or other code rather 
than either of the labels.)

If a searcher searches with an altLabel, the system should automatically 
substitute the prefLabel in constructing a search statement. It may or 
may not tell the searcher that it has done this.

Two other issues arise:

A. If the need is to display lists of documents grouped under subject 
labels, optionally using either common or scientific names, then you 
will have to give the labels a type attribute, as has been suggested, so 
that the correct one can be chosen in each case. This may not be 
practicable, however, because:

(1) many organisms do not have common names, or have several common 
names, and there is often not a one-to-one relationship between common 
and scientific names;

(2) listing documents under individual thesaurus terms is not usually 
sufficient to produce a useful list. A useful classified display 
normally requires the pre-coordination of more than one concept (e.g. 
"potatoes : diseases" or "potatoes : prices") and SKOS does not yet 
provide for pre-coordination.

B. The "SKOS eXtension for Labels (XL)" provides at
for the expression of relationships between different label types. We 
have done the same thing in the British Standard DD8723-5 data model at
which provides for the equivalence relationship to have a "role" 
Example 91 given in the SKOS-XL document shows how one label can be 
shown to be an acronym of another, but the relationship could be 
specified as "common name / scientific name".

Leonard Will
Willpower Information       (Partners: Dr Leonard D Will, Sheena E Will)
Information Management Consultants              Tel: +44 (0)20 8372 0092
27 Calshot Way, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 7BQ, UK. Fax: +44 (0)870 051 7276
L.Will@Willpowerinfo.co.uk               Sheena.Will@Willpowerinfo.co.uk
---------------- <URL:http://www.willpowerinfo.co.uk/> -----------------
Received on Tuesday, 30 September 2008 11:49:43 UTC

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