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Comments on SKOS Primer

From: Thomas Baker <baker@sub.uni-goettingen.de>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 11:12:45 +0100
To: SWD Working Group <public-swd-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20080110101244.GA5720@octavius>

Antoine, Ed,

The draft SKOS Primer [1] is a great start!

A few initial comments:

1. Serialization of examples

   Last week I suggested that using triples in SKOS Reference
   would be both more precise and more readable than trying
   to state the model in prose [2,3].  Alistair has turned
   this into an Issue-67 [4].

   The SKOS Primer uses N3 throughout, so this document does
   show triples in a precise, readable form.  According to
   the Abstract, however, the audience for the Primer is
   "implementors... who would like to represent their concept
   scheme using SKOS".  Further on it constrains this audience
   to "implementors who have a basic understanding of RDF".
   (N3 is not yet cited in the References; Google
   points me to [5]).

   Using N3 presupposes that the audience for the Primer is
   more fluent in RDF than I had assumed.  My preference
   would be for the Primer to use visual graphs as in the
   2005 SKOS Core Guide [6].  I am assuming that graphs make
   it easier for readers who are new to RDF to see how things
   fit together.  In addition to the graphs, the 2005 guide
   also uses RDF/XML.  For the new Primer, my preference would
   be to keep using N3, though I wonder if all of these N3
   examples could be moved into an Appendix, shortening the
   body of the Primer (a good thing!).

2. Focus on the anchoring story

   Both the Primer and the Reference summarize the essence of
   SKOS in four or five lines - this is great!  The Primer also
   implicitly differentiates between "Basic SKOS" (or "SKOS
   Essentials") and "Advanced SKOS". I like this distinction
   and suggest it perhaps be strengthened.  I suggest we focus
   briefly on synching the anchoring story itself so that it
   can be used consistently in these documents and elsewhere.
   How about:

      In Basic SKOS, _conceptual resources_ (_concepts_) can be
      identified using URIs, _labeled_ with lexical strings in
      one or more natural languages, _documented_ with various
      types of note, _semantically related_ to each other
      in informal _hierarchies_ and _association networks_,
      and aggregated into distinct _concept schemes_.

      In Advanced SKOS, conceptual resources can be _mapped_
      to conceptual resources in other schemes and _grouped_
      into labeled or ordered collections.  _Labels of concepts
      can be related_ to each other.

   This anchoring story is so short and yet so comprehensive that
   it could go into the Abstract of both Primer and Reference and 
   find its way into news items and the like.

3. De-emphasize the vocabulary per se

   Sub-sections of the Primer currently have headings such as
   "The Concept Class", "Labelling Properties", etc, which emphasize
   components of the SKOS _vocabulary_ per se.  Rather, I would find
   it more useful to give the sections names that clearly relate
   back to the anchoring story, e.g.:
    
    2.1 Concepts                (instead of "The Concept Class")
    2.2 Labels                  (instead of "Labelling Properties")
    2.3 Semantic Relationships
    2.4 Documentation           (instead of "Documentation Properties")
    2.5 Concept Schemes

Tom

[1] http://www.w3.org/2006/07/SWD/wiki/SKOS/DraftPrimer?action=AttachFile&do=get&target=SKOSPrimer-080108.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/2006/07/SWD/SKOS/reference/20071223
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-swd-wg/2008Jan/0000.html
[4] http://www.w3.org/2006/07/SWD/track/issues/67
[5] http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Notation3.html
[6] http://www.w3.org/TR/swbp-skos-core-guide/

-- 
Tom Baker - tbaker@tbaker.de - baker@sub.uni-goettingen.de
Received on Thursday, 10 January 2008 10:12:53 UTC

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