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Re: ISSUE 77 and postcoordination [and ISSUE-40!]

From: Jakob Voss <jakob.voss@gbv.de>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 17:54:33 +0100
Message-ID: <47DEA249.4070801@gbv.de>
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org
Cc: public-swd-wg@w3.org

Hi Aida,

You wrote:

>> "Semanticists generally recognize two sorts of meaning that an
>> expression (such as the sentence, "John ate a bagel") may have: (1) the
>> relation that the expression, broken down into its constituent parts
>> (signs), has to things and situations in the real world as well as
>> possible worlds, and (2) the relation the signs have to other signs,
>> such as the sorts of mental signs that are conceived of as concepts."
>> Every RDF graph has only semantic in the second sense unless human
>> beeings use it for some purpose in the real world. A KOS encoded in SKOS
>> does not carry any practical meaning unless you know that it can be used
>> for indexing resources.
> I would not agree here, although I don't understand what do you mean by 
> 'practical meaning'. My view is that KOS itself establishes the meaning 
> of a concept within the system. Hence SKOS or any other carrier of KOS 
> is not likely to strip KOS of the meaning that can be implied from 
> relationships between concepts in the scheme. Concept in KOS has meaning 
> whether this is attached to a resource or not.

A KOS encoded in SKOS, written in a book or drafted on a whiteboard is 
nothing but a stream of bits and bytes, a pile of paper and letters, an 
aggregation of atoms. It's the usage that creates meaning.

I think that this this philosophical viewpoint has practical 
implications but nevertheless it's a philosophical question and I doubt 
that we simply find a consensus about it.

> My feeling is that we have problem here, not on the philosophical level 
> (Frege,  Wittgenstain, Saussure, Pierce, Chomsky etc...:-) but rather on 
> agreeing of application scenarios and defining functional requirements 
> with respect to the following
> a) vocabularies that are not born digital or XML/RDF - linked to a large 
> amount of legacy data. They are developed with various level of semantic 
> rigour - they are applied with a different level of sophistication - 
> they are likely to continue to be used for some time
> b) emerging vocabularies: created by humans, extracted by 
> auto-categorisation and data mining tools or extracted using new 
> semantic technology applications (RDF. For these we need a good standard 
> framework that would impose rigour and automate application

Sure. It's the application scenario that matters but we have different 
scenarios in mind.

> The use of vocabularies is a matter that should be considered 
> irrespective of whether these are expressed in SKOS, Topic Map, MARC or 
> some proprietary schema. I can think of the following:
> - maintenance and development of KOS
> - extension of KOS (mapping)
> - translation of KOS
> - distribution/publishing/exachange
> - re-use in building of other new KOS
> - support of automatic indexing and author NLP based tools

I raised ISSUE 77 and 40 because I stumbled upon two application 
scenarios that's I'd like to encode with SKOS:

1. Indexing: How do you encode the statement "Person <P> indexed 
resource <R> with concepts <C1> and <C2>"?

2. Mapping: How do you encode the statement "Concept <A> in vocabulary 
<X> has the same meaning as Concept <B> and <C> together (coordinated) 
in vocabulary <Y>"?

The current SKOS draft does not answer this questions, but maybe it is 
not intended to do so.


Jakob Vo▀ <jakob.voss@gbv.de>, skype: nichtich
Verbundzentrale des GBV (VZG) / Common Library Network
Platz der Goettinger Sieben 1, 37073 G÷ttingen, Germany
+49 (0)551 39-10242, http://www.gbv.de
Received on Monday, 17 March 2008 16:55:33 UTC

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