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RE: Patterns for representing mass-produced objects? (FRBR revisited)

From: Lansing, Jeff <jlansing@systechnologies.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2008 06:29:38 -0700
Message-ID: <0924D8C9ADE6C04D9FA73CC47C0FA8E405950B94@SYSSDEX.syys.com>
To: "Dan Brickley" <danbri@danbri.org>, <public-owl-dev@w3.org>
Cc: "Alistair Miles" <alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk>, "Thomas Baker" <tbaker@tbaker.de>

Isn't the relevant ontological distinction role vs. "player" of the role? (One prominant ontology calls these OBJECT_TYPE and OBJECT_ITEM.)
The idea is that roles have their own properties, related to ideal capabilities, say, and and "players" may have other properties.


From: public-owl-dev-request@w3.org on behalf of Dan Brickley
Sent: Tue 9/30/2008 6:12 AM
To: public-owl-dev@w3.org
Cc: Alistair Miles; Thomas Baker
Subject: Patterns for representing mass-produced objects? (FRBR revisited)

Hello, Ontology experts.

I'm looking for advice on current OWL-friendly best practices for
modelling mass-produced items and their (possibly varying)
characteristics. The motivation here is discussions during the Dublin
Core conference last week, and from something in the Library and
bibliographic metadata world called FRBR - the 'Functional Requirements
for Bibliographic Records', http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRBR

A FRBR-driven perspective is slowly getting traction in the library
world, and is important also in discussions about the future directions
for Dublin Core. FRBR attempts to give a better account of what kinds of
things Libraries describe in their bibliographic records, such that we
can better deal with the digital age (DVDs, "multimedia", translations,
versions and editions etc.). FRBR conceptualises things in terms of
'Works', "Expressions", "Manifestations" and eventually, countable
"Items". See the Wikipedia reference above to track down full details.

There are efforts (notably by Ian Davis of Talis, see
http://www.frbr.org/2005/10/03/ian-davis-frbr-in-rdf) to express these
notions directly as RDF/OWL classes. The Library cataloguing standard
AACR2 is currently being revised (by the Resource Description and Access
group, see http://www.rdaonline.org/) and taking on board FRBR ideas.

I have long had a suspicion that some of the distinctions that FRBR make
sare more general, and deal with issues that can have common class-based
modelling idioms. Basically the problem of the library is that it needs
to keep track of countable, locatable, damage-able items, as well as
model their shared characteristics.

So a book's title, topic, authorship etc, expected number of pages, etc
are attached at a different level of abstraction to information about
its location, physical state, owner, actual number of pages, and so on.

One of the problems we've seen with FRBR deployment is that, because it
has only these 4 "buckets" to put things in, some lack of agrement about
whether something is a "Work" or an "Expression". The FRBROO project
attempts to address this by combining it into the larger CIDOC CRM
ontology, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRBRoo . This is useful I
think, but dauntingly large, and doesn't exploit the richness we have in
OWL for describing the membership rules for classes.

So my thought here is that it is also worth considering an alternate
model, in which "Work", "Expression", "Manifestation" and "Item" are
thought of as functional requirements on our ontologising, rather than
as directly modelled classes.

Hence my question here. How do ontologists lately tend to model things
like an aircraft part, or other mass-produced item, when we have a
situation in which (a) the design of these copied itself needs modeling
(b) their instances may be flawed, damaged or lack adherance in various
ways towards their stereotypical ideal.

I've been thinking that we could partially model this by some annotation
on the class which pointed to a description of an indicative instance.
For example, a T-Shirt design might typically be associated with T-Shirt
instances that have a certain weight, colour, and so on. I don't want to
make strong OWL claims that each actual shirt has just this weight,
colour, ... any more than a library wants to imply that the actual
number of pages in a shelved book is necessarily what we'd expect from
the ideal.

Hope I'm making some sense here! I guess the issue I'm skirting around
is how to handle default reasoning in RDFS/OWL, and whether there are
deployed patterns that work for describing typical manufactured
instances which might be re-usable in the bibliographic world.

Thanks for any thoughts / pointers.



ps. I made a couple of sketches in diagram / slide form, which might
help indicate what I'm on about...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/danbri/2891150205/ (static class view)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/danbri/2892286406/in/photostream/ (timeline
Received on Tuesday, 30 September 2008 13:27:20 UTC

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