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AW: Re: FRBR and classes ('frbr:Works in the age of mechanical reproduction'...)

From: Svensson, Lars <L.Svensson@dnb.de>
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 21:46:21 +0100
Message-ID: <6DA97EFF2763174B8BDC409CA19729840D342A85@dbf-ex.AD.DDB.DE>
To: "Karen Coyle" <kcoyle@kcoyle.net>, "Dan Brickley" <danbri@danbri.org>
Cc: "public-lld" <public-lld@w3.org>
I'm still digesting Dan's post, so I'll just comment briefly, looking at Karen's mail in reversed order:

> That said, it may be time to unbundle the inventory function (which is
> necessary for library management: purchasing, circulation, estimating
> storage needs) from the human knowledge function, and at least allow
> the latter to evolve unfettered by the need to control the packages.
> Perhaps what we need to do with FRBR is to remove the dependency of
> the knowledge function from the physical inventory function, but link
> them for services that intertwine intellectual discovery and item
> delivery. (In fact, today's MARC-based records may do this better than
> FRBR does.)

Inventory, purchase, circulation, storage: This is all about frbr:Items, right?

> Clearly, the issue here is not technology but *mission*. The mission
> of the library is not to gather physical things into an inventory, but
> to organize human knowledge that has been very inconveniently
> packaged. While there is a case for modeling the packages as packages
> (for example in warehouses that serve Amazon, or for library
> circulation functions), the library catalog describes the package as a
> secondary aspect (as you note below, Dan). The primary goal is to
> describe what the content of these packages MEANS, in themselves and
> in relation to each other, and over time. Obviously, MEANING in this
> context is a very big word.

Leaves WEM to take care of the rest: Content and Meaning. 

I still don't know what to do with this, so -- like Dan -- I'm thinking aloud. Would one possibility be to say that WEM is a class and the Items are instances? To me, it feels neither right nor wrong...

All the best,

Lars



  **** Bitte beachten Sie die neue Internet- und E-Mail-Adresse. ****
  **** Please note my new internet- and email-address. ****

-- 
Dr. Lars G. Svensson
Deutsche Nationalbibliothek / Informationstechnik
http://www.dnb.de/

l.svensson@dnb.de


> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: public-lld-request@w3.org [mailto:public-lld-request@w3.org] Im
> Auftrag von Karen Coyle
> Gesendet: Donnerstag, 17. März 2011 18:03
> An: Dan Brickley
> Cc: public-lld
> Betreff: [Spam-Wahrscheinlichkeit=60]Re: FRBR and classes ('frbr:Works
> in the age of mechanical reproduction'...)
> 
> It's hard to respond to such a long post, but I will try to do so
> briefly.
> 
> Clearly, the issue here is not technology but *mission*. The mission
> of the library is not to gather physical things into an inventory, but
> to organize human knowledge that has been very inconveniently
> packaged. While there is a case for modeling the packages as packages
> (for example in warehouses that serve Amazon, or for library
> circulation functions), the library catalog describes the package as a
> secondary aspect (as you note below, Dan). The primary goal is to
> describe what the content of these packages MEANS, in themselves and
> in relation to each other, and over time. Obviously, MEANING in this
> context is a very big word.
> 
> That said, it may be time to unbundle the inventory function (which is
> necessary for library management: purchasing, circulation, estimating
> storage needs) from the human knowledge function, and at least allow
> the latter to evolve unfettered by the need to control the packages.
> Perhaps what we need to do with FRBR is to remove the dependency of
> the knowledge function from the physical inventory function, but link
> them for services that intertwine intellectual discovery and item
> delivery. (In fact, today's MARC-based records may do this better than
> FRBR does.)
> 
> kc
> 
> Quoting Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>:
> 
> > (thinking-out-loud alert)
> >
> > So this is a conversation that resurfaces over the years in various
> > ways. My latest prompt being a combination of (i) seeing
> > http://www.productontology.org/ which declares OWL DL classes (ie.
> > classes of thing, aka types...) for commonly named products, using
> > Wikipedia data. The product ontology site uses OWL to describe
> classes
> > of largely mass-produced thing:
> >
> > "This service provides GoodRelations-compatible OWL DL class
> > definitions for ca. 300,000 types of product or services that have an
> > entry in the English Wikipedia, e.g.
> >
> > http://www.productontology.org/doc/Apple

> > http://www.productontology.org/doc/Laser_printer

> > http://www.productontology.org/doc/Manure_spreader

> > http://www.productontology.org/doc/Racing_bicycle

> > http://www.productontology.org/doc/Soldering_iron

> > http://www.productontology.org/doc/Sweet_potato

> >
> > Back at DC-2008 in Berlin someone (maybe Karen Coyle or Diane
> Hillman)
> > mentioned that a difference between libraries and museums is that the
> > works collected by the former are mass produced.
> >
> > I think we can go some way towards webbifying FRBR by pondering that
> > observation. I spent monday and tuesday with VU.nl colleagues
> visiting
> > the Amsterdam Museum and then the Fab Lab at http://fablab.waag.org/

> > which showed some possibilities for taking museum artifacts and
> > replicating lossy copies of them (with 3d printers and other
> > mechanical reproduction techniques). We could even fabricate moulds
> > derrived from artifacts that allow others to create new derrived
> > instances (or their own moulds). Each generation derriving
> > characteristics from the previous, and adding in its own flaws and
> > innovations.
> >
> > Looking at the Product Ontology examples above, they work better at
> > describing mechanically reproduced, near-identical artifacts -
> > Laser_printer, Soldering_Iron than with the natural kinds of thing -
> > apple, potato etc. Both apple and sweet potato are halfway to being
> > mass nouns --- you might often have need to describe 'some' apple or
> > sweet-potato, rather than 'a' sweet potato, although of course you
> can
> > have a specific apple or potato in-hand. Mass production brings with
> > it the prospect of thousands of *near*-identical instances of some
> > type, as well as associating those with codes and lately URLs that
> > link us back to information about the recipe or ingredients list for
> > those types of thing. For complex modern mass produced items, if you
> > know what kind of item it is, you know a huge amount about that thing
> > - whether it is a book or a printer or a soldering iron.
> >
> > If we forget the library and cultural heritage scene for now, and
> > think just about these product types: I have here in my room a
> > specific laser printer. It is an HP Laser Smart C4270. Let's say it
> > was bought in Leiden, Netherlands and has an owner (this household).
> > It has specific characteristics local to this copy, as well as
> > stereotypical characteristics that it shares with all other "HP Laser
> > Smart C4270s".
> >
> > FRBR isn't designed to describe that kind of situation (although the
> > parallels should be clear). But RDF and OWL do try to address that
> > general case: RDF/RDFS/OWL is very much in the business of drawing
> > such class-instance distinctions. OWL also goes some basic way
> towards
> > providing information-machinery for stating generalisations about all
> > the members of some class of thing. However OWL itself avoids certain
> > complex topics that are relatively hard to avoid for us: it does not
> > directly give us a way of saying '"typically". It does not give us a
> > way of distinguishing intrinsic versus accidental properties. The
> > latter saved W3C from retreading thousands of years of philosophical
> > debate. The former is perhaps a medium-sized nuisance. Regardless:
> >
> > We can think of the class of things in the world that are *printers*.
> > We can name that class with a URI and publish a description there.
> > We can think of the class of things in the world that are *laser
> > printers*. We can name that class with a URI and publish a
> description
> > there.
> > We can think of the class of things in the world that are *HP laser
> > printers*. We can name that class with a URI and publish a
> description
> > there.
> > We can think of the class of things in the world that are *HP Laser
> > Smart C4270 printers*. We can name that class with a URI and publish
> a
> > description there.
> >
> > We can associate any thing in the world with one of more of these
> > classes; in RDF by asserting an rdf:type relationship to the class.
> We
> > can use properties associated with the class to describe the
> > individual thing 'by hand', or we can draw factual conclusions about
> > properties of some individual from general knowledge that makes
> claims
> > about all members of a class.
> >
> > We can go deeper, towards query-like classes, and name the sub-class
> > of HPLaserSmartC4270-Printer that corresponds to such printers bought
> > in Leiden; or owned by me. Or that have a damaged scanner lid and
> > which still serve adequately as a printer. Or which belong to the
> > subclass manufactured in the UK and that shipped with a UK-compatible
> > power cable.
> >
> > OWL doesn't impose any appropriate level of detail on us, it just
> > provides descriptive primitives that let us talk in terms of
> [broadly]
> > sets of things, the properties that characterise those sets, and the
> > subset / superset relations between those sets. (We say class instead
> > of set, and leave that distinction aside for now.)
> >
> > Computerised ontology languages like OWL are obsessed with this
> > class-vs-instance distinction, and in modern mass produced life, the
> > distinction is all around us, as are near-identical, mechanically
> > reproduced copies of products - regardless of whether the product was
> > designed to inform, educate, entertain, or remove unsightly nasal
> > hair.
> >
> > Our FRBR-inspired conversations here are outshadowed by the need to
> > make equivalent distinctions in other aspects of everyday life. From
> > tracking down a replacement cable or scanner lid for my printer, to
> > finding the nearest open shop that will sell me a certain kind of
> > soldering iron on a sunday, or a certain DVD of a certain film, the
> > desire to organize information in a way that mirrors the patterns of
> > similarity amongst mass produced items is a modern universal.
> >
> >> From
> >>
> http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/benjamin.

> htm
> >
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Work_of_Art_in_the_Age_of_Mechanical_R

> eproduction
> > and unfairly out of context,
> >
> > "In principle a work of art has always been reproducible. Man-made
> > artifacts could always be imitated by men. Replicas were made by
> > pupils in practice of their craft, by masters for diffusing their
> > works, and, finally, by third parties in the pursuit of gain.
> > Mechanical reproduction of a work of art, however, represents
> > something new." [...] "With the woodcut graphic art became
> > mechanically reproducible for the first time, long before script
> > became reproducible by print. The enormous changes which printing,
> the
> > mechanical reproduction of writing, has brought about in literature
> > are a familiar story. However, within the phenomenon which we are
> here
> > examining from the perspective of world history, print is merely a
> > special, though particularly important, case."
> >
> > All I'm suggesting here is that we follow this advice from Walter
> > Benjamin in 1936 and indulge ourselves in the idea that modeling
> > bibliographic mass production is merely a special (and important)
> > case.
> >
> > FRBR's "items" are the most concrete, tangible entities in the FRBR
> > universe. In the physical realm they are things you might hold in
> your
> > hand, put in a box, find at some location. The idea extended to the
> > digital realm is naturally more ephemeral but we do at least have
> > correspondingly objective characterstics that ground digital objects
> > in clear ways: notions such as sizeInBytes, cryptographic hashes
> > (sha1sum, md5) can be used to talk precisely about specific sequences
> > of 'Zeros' and 'Ones'.
> >
> > Looking up the FRBR hierarchy at the more general notions of
> > "Manifestation", "Expression" and "Work", these are FRBR's particular
> > story for organizing our millions of items into sensible groups.
> > FRBR's "work" notion is described textually as a “distinct
> > intellectual or artistic creation.”... a kind of ghostly but specific
> > entity, a kind of social fiction that acts as a descriptive (and
> > sometimes legal) hub for organizing clusters of related items.
> > "Expression" brings that somewhat down to earth (“the specific
> > intellectual or artistic form that a work takes each time it is
> > ‘realized.’”), while "Manifestion" finally articulates it in terms
> > sets/classes rather than individual abstract entities: " “the
> physical
> > embodiment of an expression of a work. As an entity, manifestation
> > represents all the physical objects that bear the same
> > characteristics, in respect to both intellectual content and physical
> > form.”".
> >
> > So the distinctions made in terms of these *4* notions are similar to
> > those baked into the core of RDF itself.... specific fairly concrete
> > things organized into groups (sets, classes). RDF only allows itself
> > 'rdf:type' and 'rdfs:subClassOf' relationships as a basis to describe
> > all this.
> >
> > So if we go with this idea that "print is merely a special, though
> > particularly important, case" of mass produced work, and that is it
> > worth investigating RDF descriptive habits that address
> > characteristics of mass production regardless of whether we are
> > talking about bicycles, books, laser printers or farmyard equipment,
> > ... where does this leave us? where does it get us?
> >
> > 1. We bring more clearly into scope some industrialised areas of
> > cultural 'content' -- music, tv, films; http://musicontology.com/

> > http://www.bbc.co.uk/ontologies/programmes/2009-09-07.shtml ... areas
> > where FRBR is a close but not perfect fit, and class-based models
> > drift towards being 'FRBR-inspired' rather than 'FRBR-based'.
> >
> > 2. We find OWL lacks certain conventions for distinguishing
> > stereotypical instances from flawed/accidental characteristics of
> > actual instances. For eg. a copy of a some book I have on my desk
> > might be missing a certain page, so its literal 'number of pages'
> > property couldn't be inferred from a common class shared with other
> > such manifestations of the same abstraction. Or the local adjustments
> > made here to my printer (I swapped the power cable, or repaired the
> > lid). There is a big literature in KR about defaults and overrides
> and
> > it's tricky to get right with open-world design of RDF/OWL/RDFS.
> >
> > 3. Works, Manifestations and Expressions might all just be kinds of
> > classes; or annotations on classes. The class of *HP Laser Smart
> C4270
> > printers* of which I have one in this room; the class of *SQL and
> > Relational Theory books* of which I have one on my desk as I type.
> The
> > former is described at
> >
> http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/product?cc=us&lc=en&dlc=en&product=3

> 300222
> > by its maker;  the latter at http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596523084

> > ... more general classes might be tagged 'work-class'; very precise
> > classes tagged 'manifestation-class'. But fundamentally we get a
> huge,
> > universal spectrum (from the class of 'every Thing', to the class of
> > 'No-thing') rather than forcing each into one of the FRBR 4.
> >
> > In both these example cases, there are product codes and online
> > databases, and other people who own different instances of the same
> > kind of thing. In both cases there are related products (maybe an
> > ebook, maybe a successor printer design, or ink cartridge) where
> > information at the level of 'all products' is useful to the owners
> and
> > custodians of specific products.
> >
> > 4. OWL 2.0's punning mechanism may be relevant. This is a trick in
> OWL
> > 2 that lets a single URI serve both as a class identifier (the class
> > of C4270printers) but also as an identifier at the instance level,
> eg.
> > something that might have other data attached like images or links to
> > product documentation.
> >
> > 5. We would effectively be abandoning the attempt to fit the
> > bibliographic universe into 4 buckets, and allowing different parties
> > to name and describe classes at any level of generality, picked out
> by
> > the properties of the things in that class. I might care to name a
> > class for all books written by all former pupils of the school
> > described at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RGS_High_Wycombe --- this
> > class would include SQL and Relational Theory, via its author,
> > http://dbpedia.org/page/Christopher_J._Date  .... or you might care
> to
> > create a class for products whose primary inventor was an immigrant.
> > By stepping back from the FRBR 4, we could get a more free-form
> > environment in which properties of all kinds of thing can be used to
> > define whatever classes are useful.
> >
> > 6. What does this mean in terms of 'who defines what when' metadata
> > practice? If the abstract work "SQL and Relational Theory" by
> C.J.Date
> > is in some sense now an RDF class, what should the URI be? Who
> > publishes it and what practice should exist around the associated
> > online description? I don't know. Maybe authors, publishers and
> > libraries all have a role, ... maybe there are 3 or more
> > semi-competing URIs for that class, one from C.J.Date, one from the
> > publisher O'Reilly or one or more from a library perspective. Perhaps
> > one of these descriptive agencies ends up playing a hub role and
> > including links to further description of the class from the other
> > parties. Maybe practices vary between fields and types of product. I
> > really don't know. And the core RDF/OWL specs are not the kinds of
> > thing that will tell us what's best to do, btw.
> >
> > 7. What kinds of thing are properly expressed at the class level? I
> > also don't know. We might find value in rethinking some properties to
> > more explicitly attach them to the stereotypical ideal member of some
> > class, as a way of admitting that not all instances will match the
> > ideal. Perhaps for eg. the idea that books have 'numPages' could be
> > defined to refer to the stereotypical ideal case, even while applied
> > at the instance level. So if I lose 5 pages from the copy of "SQL and
> > Relational Theory" on my desk, we still say it has 410 numbered
> pages.
> > Maybe we go through and think 'which properties does it even make
> > sense to mutate at the instance level?". For all the damage I could
> do
> > to my copy of that book, I'm not going to change its author or
> > subject, for example. So those would be readily expressed in terms of
> > OWL. The numPages could be expressed as an OWL generalisation about
> > all instances if we define that property to be the ideal number,
> > rather than having to track damaged pages etc. And some properties
> > such as geographic location or owner make sense only at the instance
> > level. A few of these (such as e.g. initialOwner) might be static
> > properties that never change their value; others vary from time to
> > time.
> >
> >
> > Ok this post is too long already. Another way of stating all this is
> > that it's an appeal to think more in terms of specific
> > somehow-concrete items, things. Artifacts in your hand, or computer
> > data files that might be checksummed. And that all abstractions above
> > those are means to an end, rather than ends in themselves. So we can
> > ask whether, instead of pondering the vague characteristics of
> ghostly
> > entities like 'works', 'expressions' and 'manifestations', whether
> > we're simply talking about the common characteristics of collections
> > of identifiable *items*. And if that is what we're doing, whether (a)
> > we can more explicitly share common descriptive practices with other
> > non-textual mass produced kinds of things (b) whether RDF/OWL might
> > have some built-in facilities that could be used more (ie. its notion
> > of class).
> >
> > This all wouldn't abolish the WEMI distinctions, rather they would as
> > sketched above, show up as a kind of annotation on RDF classes. Some
> > classes might be work-ish classes; the class of all Hamlets. Others
> > might be manifestation-ish classes; the class of all paper-printed
> > first edition SQL and Relational Theory copies. But the core
> > organising idea is sets/classes rather than the ghostly upper
> entities
> > of FRBR. Aspects of those entities would also show up as concrete
> > documents; an artists first sketches of a later painting; CJ Date's
> > book contract with O'Reilly that gave us the later book. First,
> second
> > and final drafts; hp printer schematics, blueprints; architectural
> > drawings; bike designs; ingredient lists and working notes. But
> rather
> > than merge our knowledge about all those practical things into the
> > vaguer composite entities of FRBR we just itemise them and describe
> > them as plain old artifacts at the instance level - giving us
> > something like a catalogue of evidence left in the world that shadows
> > the creative process, rather than reifying the act of creation into
> > special 'things' that can be described but never touched, used, read
> > or consumed.
> >
> > Hope this all makes some sense. Related discussion from Bradley
> Allen,
> > Karen and others:
> >
> > http://bpa.tumblr.com/post/10814190/faceted-classification-and-frbr

> > http://www.mail-archive.com/rda-l@listserv.lac-

> bac.gc.ca/msg03837.html
> > http://www.mail-archive.com/rda-l@listserv.lac-

> bac.gc.ca/msg03848.html
> > http://bibwild.wordpress.com/2007/12/07/frbr-considered-as-set-

> relationships/
> > http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-owl-

> dev/2008JulSep/0110.html
> > http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-lld/2010Sep/0049.html

> >
> > cheers,
> >
> > Dan
> >
> > ps. I tried to draw some of this out graphically:
> > http://www.flickr.com/photos/danbri/2891150205/  ... story of a
> > t-shirt design as frbr-inspired classes
> > http://www.flickr.com/photos/danbri/2892286406/in/photostream/

> ...same
> > story as a timeline
> >
> >
> 
> 
> 
> --
> Karen Coyle
> kcoyle@kcoyle.net http://kcoyle.net

> ph: 1-510-540-7596
> m: 1-510-435-8234
> skype: kcoylenet
> 

Received on Monday, 21 March 2011 20:46:59 GMT

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