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Re: RDA and ranges

From: Emmanuelle Bermes <manue.fig@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 14:23:03 +0200
Message-ID: <AANLkTikWzmQzFhjqdkz4X6q-=eEkeJfdkfYWtwqDb7Q-@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Cc: Karen Coyle <kcoyle@kcoyle.net>, public-lld@w3.org
Thank you Karen for the diagram, which is an interesting starting point to a
needed discussion on ranges.

In your diagram, I see no middle-term between defining a very precise range,
and no range at all. However, it could be useful to determine at least if
the range should be a literal, or a resource with a URI.
If it's a title, it should probably be a literal (although, for DC:title,
from the scope note, " In current practice, this term is used primarily with
literal values; however, there are important uses with non-literal values as
well. As of December 2007, the DCMI Usage Board is leaving this range
unspecified pending an investigation of options.")

As far as I know it is not possible, even in an "ontologically strict"
environment, to define what should be "inside" the literal (what we
librarians call "the cataloguing rule").

When you state that the range for rdavocab:titleProper(Manifestation) is
"RDA 2.3.2", what you actually mean is that the range is a literal, and the
literal should be constructed by the cataloguer following RDA rules 2.3.2.
This is something that cannot be checked by a machine, and we have to
remember that ontology semantics is meant for machine interpretation.
Even in current library systems, the adequacy of the content of metadata
fields to cataloguing rules is not checked by machines. It is checked in a
quality assessment process by humans (at least, in my library - well if
someone knows how to check that in an automated way, please send me an
e-mail ;-). This adequacy relies on guidelines and training of cataloguers,
and not on a formal metadata structure (be it MARC, MARCXML, MODS, DC or any

So, to go back to the model, here is how I see things could be done :
- rdavocab:titleProper(Manifestation) would be declared as a property with
"literal" as range
- in the note or description, it would be stated that the literal is
expected to be constructed according to RDA rule 2.3.2.
I have to dive deeper into application profiles to see how they can help
with expressing this constraint in a more explicit or formal way.

Then the "super-properties" (in your example rdavocab:titleProper and
rdavocab:title) could be declared with only "litteral" as a range and no
precision on how the litteral should be constructed. That would make them
sub-properties of DC:title, which has no range. Maybe they could have at
least "FRBR group 1 entity" (WEMI) as a domain (well, that's another
Or even, if they have no domain and no range, I don't see a reason why they
couldn't be declared equivalent to DC:title (rather than subproperties).
I guess it was the point made by Dan, but I must admit there are some things
that are not completely clear to me in his comment.

Obviously, the range discussion is completely different when the range is
not a literal but a class or a resource.


On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:01 AM, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 2:09 AM, Karen Coyle <kcoyle@kcoyle.net> wrote:
> > There's been something tickling my brain for a bit, so I sat down to try
> to
> > draw up a diagram. Essentially, the question is: what is the domain &
> range
> > of an RDA property? Then I began to wonder what is the domain and range
> of a
> > property based on RDA but not bound to a FRBR domain?
> >
> > My unfinished diagram is here:
> >
> > kcoyle.net/domainsranges.pdf
> >
> > and I now realize that title isn't the best example to use. But the key
> > element, in my mind, is that the RDA guidance rules both guide the
> metadata
> > creator and define the range of the element. Those ranges are inherent in
> > the rules but have not been extracted into the registry, in part because
> > many of the ranges are quite complex. In the rules you find how the
> property
> > is to be structured and what values are valid, which to me is the
> definition
> > of the range.
> >
> > Note that in the diagram I have only filled in the domain and range at
> the
> > bottom (most specific) level. That is because I'm not sure what to do
> beyond
> > that. If we treat the RDA rules as describing the ranges for the
> properties,
> > then all of the properties, regardless of whether they are bound to FRBR,
> > are very tightly defined (probably what Tom would call ontologically
> > strict). If we wish for other communities to provide guidance rules of
> their
> > own for the properties, then it becomes hard to think of them as RDA
> > properties. (This is a can of worms that has been a matter of discussion
> > between JSC and the registry.)
> >
> > What I am getting at is that we may need a hierarchy that goes like this
> > (from most specific to most general):
> >
> > 1. RDA + FRBR -- range is as defined in RDA; domain is FRBR entity
> > 2. RDA alone -- range is as defined in RDA; no domain?
> > 3. Property with definition -- range and domain are open
> >
> > I hope I've made some sense here. Although we've discussed whether RDA
> > properties must be bound to FRBR, in fact I think that RDA's definition
> of
> > the values/ranges is more of a constraint than FRBR.
> This is a useful exercise!
> Quick question. Going from the diagram alone, it isn't clear to me
> exactly how dcterms:title is more general than rdvocab:title.
> * dcterms:title, definition: A name given to the resource.
> * rdvocab:title, definition: A word, character, or group of words
> and/or characters that names a resource or a work contained in it.
> >From those definitions alone, it seems that rdvocab:title allows some
> cases that aren't anticipated by dcterms:title, namely when the value
> is a name for a work contained within the main thing we're describing.
> I read "a word, character, or group of words and/or characters" as
> approximating the concept of "text", although on a strict reading, it
> seems a little confused as to whether the group of words/characters is
> necessarily ordered. Presumably the ordered group of characters [ "H",
> "a", "m", "l", "t", "e" ] isn't a name given to Shakespeare's Hamlet,
> whereas the ordered group  [ "H", "a", "m", "l", "e", "t" ] is?
> If we proceed with this level of nitpicking it'll take forever; is it
> OK to assume "text that" when I see "A word, character, or group of
> words and/or characters that"? In which case, next question is whether
> the text can be a separate entity/resource/thing rather what RDF would
> call a literal. If 'yes', I can't see anything that would be a value
> fitting the dcterms:title definition but fails to match rdvocab:title;
> if 'no', it seems the properties as defined have only partial overlap
> rather than forming a hierarchy.
> All that said, your main point seems to be around the RD vocab and
> FRBR, perhaps the DC aspect is a distraction?
> cheers,
> Dan
> > kc
> >
> > p.s. I will try to locate some better examples of RDA rules as ranges.
> >
> > --
> > Karen Coyle
> > kcoyle@kcoyle.net http://kcoyle.net
> > ph: 1-510-540-7596
> > m: 1-510-435-8234
> > skype: kcoylenet
> >
> >
> >
Received on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 12:23:39 UTC

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