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SKOS use cases format

From: Alistair Miles <a.j.miles@rl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2006 11:54:48 +0000
Message-ID: <45546888.2070907@rl.ac.uk>
To: SWD WG <public-swd-wg@w3.org>, SKOS <public-esw-thes@w3.org>

Hi all,

Below is a suggested format for SKOS use cases.

I posted a draft use case yesterday [1] describing the SWED 
application - hopefully that provides an illustration of at least some 
of the features I've suggested below.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-swd-wg/2006Nov/0014.html

SKOS Use Case Format

The use case should describe a current or proposed application of a 
controlled vocabulary (thesaurus, classification scheme, subject 
heading system, taxonomy or other).

Divide the use case into three main sections: an *introduction* to the 
application; a description of the *functionality* of the application; 
a description of the controlled *vocabulary(ies)* used within the 

  - Introduction

In this section, provide relevant background information. Include, 
where appropriate:

  * A brief, high-level description of the purpose of the application. 
I.e. what service does the application provide to its users and why.

  * A brief, high-level description of the architecture of the 
application, especially where the programmatic components and/or the 
data are distributed. Specify whether the architecture is 
centralised, decentralised, or has aspects of both, and how this is 

  - Functionality

In this section, describe those functionalities of the application 
that involve the controlled vocabulary(ies), either directly or 

For example, if the application uses controlled vocabularies to power 
some kind of searching and/or browsing functionality, describe this 
functionality, in as much detail as possible.

This would include, where appropriate a description of:

  * How the vocabulary is presented to the user (if at all).
  * What actions the user may take.
  * What outcomes those actions have.

Provide concrete examples to illustrate all aspects of the 
functionality described.

If possible, briefly describe any non-trivial algorithms involved in 
the processing of user actions, e.g. query expansion algorithms for a 
search application.

Where the functionality associated with the controlled vocabulary(ies) 
is integrated in some way with other functionalities, provide a brief 
description. For example, search and browse using a structured 
vocabulary might be integrated with free-text searching and/or some 
sort of social bookmarking or recommender system.

  - Vocabulary(ies)

In this section, describe the controlled vocabulary(ies) used within 
the application.

Describe the structural characteristics of each vocabulary in as much 
detail as possible. Try to describe the structure in abstract way, if 
possible augmenting your description with some sort of model using 
UML, entity-relationship diagrams or other established modelling 
paradigm. If the vocabulary is held in a database, describe the 
structure of the database.

Provide concrete examples from the vocabulary(ies) illustrating all of 
the structural features mentioned. Examples may be presented in 
human-readable form - use whichever layout/format is natural to the 
users of the application. Examples may also be provided in a 
machine-readable form, such as comma-delimited files, XML or RDF, 
according to the formats used within the application.

If possible, describe how the vocabulary is/will be managed. This 
could include a description of the versioning policy, and how that 
policy is implemented.

Make careful use of terminology and, if possible, either briefly 
explain what is meant by the key technical terms used, or refer to an 
established glossary such as <http://www.w3.org/2003/glossary/> or 

  - Notes/References

Place any additional notes in a final section. If possible, provide 
references to any relevant material available online or published 

Alistair Miles
Research Associate
CCLRC - Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Building R1 Room 1.60
Fermi Avenue
Oxfordshire OX11 0QX
United Kingdom
Web: http://purl.org/net/aliman
Email: a.j.miles@rl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1235 445440
Received on Friday, 10 November 2006 11:55:21 UTC

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