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Re: SKOS use cases format

From: Alistair Miles <a.j.miles@rl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 12:26:26 +0000
Message-ID: <456441F2.4060405@rl.ac.uk>
To: Jon Phipps <jphipps@madcreek.com>, Antoine Isaac <aisaac@few.vu.nl>, Daniel Rubin <dlrubin@stanford.edu>
CC: SWD WG <public-swd-wg@w3.org>

Hi Antoine, Jon, Daniel,

How about this for a call for use cases and use case format ...


   W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group

   Call for Use Cases: Simple Knowledge Organisation Systems (SKOS)

Are you currently using SKOS, or considering using SKOS in the near 
future? If so, please tell us more by filling in the questionnaire 
below and sending it to:


The information you provide will be influential in guiding the further 
development of SKOS towards W3C Recommendation status.

We understand that your time is precious, so please don't feel you 
have to answer every question. However, the more information you can 
provide, the easier it will be for the Working Group to understand 
your requirements. Questions marked with an asterix (*) are more 

We are particularly interested in use cases describing the use of 
controlled structured vocabularies in distributed, metadata-driven 
applications. This includes the use of thesauri, classification 
schemes, subject heading systems and taxonomies to facilitate 
discovery and retrieval of information. This also includes situations 
where two or more vocabularies must be "mapped" or "linked" in order 
to provide applications using heterogeneous metadata from different 

However, we're not ruling anything out at this stage, and the Working 
Group will carefully consider all submissions we receive.

On behalf of the Working Group, thanks in advance for your time,


   SKOS Use Case Questionnaire

   Section 1. Vocabularies

In this section we ask you to provide some information about the 
vocabulary or vocabularies you would like to be able to represent 
using SKOS.

[N.B. if your use case describes a generic application of one or more 
vocabularies and/or vocabulary mappings, skip straight to section 3.]

1.1. What is the title of the vocabulary(ies)?

1.2. (*) Please provide below some extracts from the vocabulary(ies). 
Use the layout or presentation format that you would normally provide 
for the users of the vocabulary(ies). Please ensure that the extracts 
you provide illustrate all of the features of the vocabulary(ies).

1.3. Describe the structure of the vocabulary(ies). What are the main 
building blocks? What types of relationship are used? If you can, 
provide examples by referring to the extracts given above.

1.4. Is a machine-readable representation of the vocabulary(ies) 
already available (e.g. as an XML document)? If so, we'd be grateful 
if you could provide some example data or point us to a hyperlink.

1.5. Are any software applications used to create and/or maintain the 
vocabulary(ies)? Are there any features which these software 
applications currently lack which are required by your use case?

1.6. If a database application is used to store and/or manage the 
vocabulary, how is the database structured?

1.7. Were any published standards, textbooks or written guidelines 
followed during the design and construction of the vocabulary? Did you 
decide to diverge from their recommendations in any way, and if so, 
how and why?

1.8. How are changes to the vocabulary(ies) managed?

1.9. Any additional information, references and/or hyperlinks.

   Section 2. Vocabulary Mappings

In this section we ask you to provide some information about the 
mappings or links between vocabularies you would like to be able to 
represent using SKOS.

[N.B. if your use case does not involve vocabulary mappings or links 
skip straight to section 3.]

2.1. Which vocabularies are you linking/mapping from/to?

2.2. (*) Please provide below some extracts from the mappings or links 
between the vocabularies. Use the layout or presentation format that 
you would normally provide for the users of the mappings. Please 
ensure that the examples you provide illustrate all of the different 
types of mapping or link.

2.3. Describe the different types of mapping used, with reference to 
the examples given above.

2.4. Any additional information, references and/or hyperlinks.

   Section 3. Application

In this section we ask you to provide some information about the 
application for which the vocabulary(ies) and or vocabulary mappings 
are being used.

3.1. What is the title of the application?

3.2. What is the general purpose of the application? What services 
does it provide to the end-user?

3.3. (*) Provide some examples of the functionality of the 
application. Try to illustrate all of the functionalities in which the 
vocabulary(ies) and/or vocabulary mappings are involved.

3.4. What is the architecture of the application? What are the main 
components? Are the components and/or the data distributed across a 
network, or across the Web?

3.5. Briefly desribe any non-trivial algorithms involved in the 
processing of user actions, e.g. query expansion algorithms.

3.6. Is the functionality associated with the controlled 
vocabulary(ies) integrated in any way with functionalities provided by 
other means? (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.)

3.7. Any additional information, references and/or hyperlinks.

End of questionnaire, thanks again.

Alistair Miles wrote:
> Hi Antoine,
> Antoine Isaac wrote:
>> 2. Independance of vocabulary section with respect to functionality 
>> section
>> I think that from our SKOS perspective it's important to emphasize on 
>> the vocabulary section for use case description. Even if you make the 
>> point in [3] that application focus is crucial, SKOS is finally about 
>> representing vocabularies. And I believe it's important for use case 
>> providers that they can express their needs with respect to this core 
>> aspect of their business. And therefore to do it in a section thay can 
>> immediately identify.
> How about if we divide a use case into two sections, a "vocabulary(ies)" 
> section and an "application" section?
> The "vocabulary(ies)" section would come first, and be centred around 
> extracts from one or more vocabularies.
> The "application" section would come second, and provide a description 
> of a current or proposed application of the vocabulary(ies).
> If a vocab has already been described in another use case, then a 
> submission could be "application-only" and refer to the previous use 
> case where the vocabulary is described.
> We could indicate that we would accept "vocab-only" submissions, but 
> encourage submissions that include an application.
>> 3. Link to ISO standards.
>> Guus mentioned in [4] that we should link the use case to ISO 
>> standards. I think we should encourage the contributors to do so, if 
>> their case is already linked to it. I favor the addition of a 
>> "(non)compliance with existing encoding/representational standards" 
>> item in the vocabulary section. But I think we should mention the fact 
>> that filling this item is not mandatory, some vocabularies being 
>> developped outside of such considerations.
> I think it's important that we encourage submissions to present extracts 
> from their vocabulary(ies) according to whatever human-readable 
> layout(s)/format(s) they already use within the given application (or 
> intend to use within a planned application).
> I think it would be good to know if any particular standards or 
> guidelines were followed in the construction, maintenance and/or 
> presentation of the vocabularies. If a particular standard has been 
> followed, we could also ask the submission to highlight if any decisions 
> were made to diverge from the standard, why those decisions were made, 
> and diverge in what way.
> However, note that ISO 2788 doesn't really define a notion of 
> "compliance" or "conformance", and that there is plenty of room for 
> interpretation within that standard - so asking whether a vocabulary 
> "complies" with ISO 2788 may not give us much information.
> Cheers,
> Alistair.

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 Wednesday, 22 November 2006 12:27:03 UTC

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