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RE: Domain of Dublin Core terms

From: Andy Powell <andy.powell@eduserv.org.uk>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2010 10:16:39 +0100
To: Dave Reynolds <dave.e.reynolds@gmail.com>, Linking Open Data <public-lod@w3.org>
Message-ID: <051279DC42F84849A64DA04141E1F9556800402E7C@edu-vmw-eml-l01.edu2000.com>
Well... the DCMI Abstract Model [1] says that a 'described resource' is a 'resource' (i.e. an rdfs:Resource):

resource (http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#Resource)
Anything that might be identified. Familiar examples include an electronic document, an image, a service (for example, "today's weather report for Los Angeles"), and a collection of other resources. Not all resources are network "retrievable"; for example, human beings, corporations, concepts and bound books in a library can also be considered resources.

so in the context of current DCMI thinking your interpretation is too narrow. (I haven't looked at the FAQ but I'm not sure how well maintained it is, nor whether it has been updated in line with the language used in the Abstract Model).

Historically, DCMI used to talk about document-like objects (DLOs) as being the kind of things that DC metadata was optimised to describe. Some of this legacy remains in, say, the definition of dcterms:format (which is pretty horrible in any case) [2] and the DC Type vocabulary [3] and in more general attitudes and practice.

To make matters worse, I think there are probably a wide range of views about what DC metadata can reasonably be used to describe within the DCMI community - and indeed on the value of things like Linked Data :-). I tried to touch on some of this in my recent talk at the ISKO Linked Data - the future of knowledge organisation on the Web conference a few weeks ago [4]. One of DCMI's problems is that its longevity means that there are a wide range of attitudes and practices to accommodate.

Overall though, I suggest that there is a general trend towards the acceptance of using an appropriate mix of DC terms to describe any kind of resource. If nothing else, DC terms are used to describe DC terms, which are themselves conceptual :-).

(Note that I was one of the authors of the Abstract Model and therefore tend to use it as my reference point rather more heavily than others do. For info, there is a current conversation within DCMI about the continuing need for a separate DCMI Abstract Model, as opposed to simply using the RDF model.)

[1] http://dublincore.org/documents/2007/06/04/abstract-model/

[2] http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-terms/#terms-format

[3] http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-terms/#H7

[4] http://www.slideshare.net/andypowe11/linked-data-the-long-and-winding-road


Andy Powell
Research Programme Director
t: 01225 474319
m: 07989 476710
twitter: @andypowe11
blog: efoundations.typepad.com


-----Original Message-----
From: public-lod-request@w3.org [mailto:public-lod-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Dave Reynolds
Sent: 11 October 2010 22:54
To: Linking Open Data
Subject: Domain of Dublin Core terms

This is a back to basics kind of question ...

What sorts of entities are we happy to describe using Dublin Core Terms?

The Dublin Core Abstract Model [1] talks about "described resources"
which are described in the FAQ [2] as "anything addressable via a
URL ... including various collections of documents and non-electronic
forms of media such as a museum or library archive". I've always taken
this to mean that such resources are Information Resources in the sense
of http-range-14, not abstract concepts. 

So I've been happy using, say, dct:spatial to talk about the area
covered by some report or some data set (c.f. its use in dcat [3]) but
not happy to use it for, say, the area affected by some public project
or administered by a local council.

Various discussions have led me to question whether I'm being too
restrictive here and whether the LOD general practice has evolved to use
dcterms more broadly than that.

The published schema for dcterms has no rdfs:domain declarations for the
bulk of the properties and no class representing describable resources.
So from a pure inference point of view using properties such as
dct:spatial on an abstract thing like a project does no harm. 

The question is whether the informal semantics or best practice
expectations suggest avoiding this.


[1] http://dublincore.org/documents/2007/06/04/abstract-model/

[2] http://dublincore.org/resources/faq/#whatisaresource


Received on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 09:17:19 UTC

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