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Re: Differences between SKOS and ISO standards : transitivity

From: Alistair Miles <alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 11:00:40 +0000
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Cc: Simon Spero <ses@unc.edu>, Leonard Will <L.Will@willpowerinfo.co.uk>, Barbara Tillett <btil@loc.gov>, "Martha M. Yee" <marthamyee@sbcglobal.net>, "Allyson Carlyle (work)" <acarlyle@u.washington.edu>, Jane Greenberg <janeg@email.unc.edu>, "public-esw-thes@w3.org" <public-esw-thes@w3.org>, public-swd-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20090219110038.GA9156@skiathos>
On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 09:11:07PM +0100, Dan Brickley wrote:
> I'd much rather say that a SKOS "butterflies" concept is a social and  
> technological artifact designed to help interconnect descriptions of  
> butterflies, documents (and data) about butterflies, and people with  
> interest or expertise relating to butterflies. I'm quite consciously  
> avoiding saying what a "butterflies" concept in SKOS "refers to",  
> because theories of reference are hard to choose between. Instead, I  
> prefer to talk about why we bother building SKOS and what we hope can be  
> achieved by it.

Yes, I like this pragmatic view a lot.

> I don't believe a SKOS concept for "butterfly" (or "butterflies" or  
> "Lepidoptera") is usefully described as literally referring to "the set  
> of all documents about ..." those things. Nor to "the set of all users  
> interested in ... those things". Nor "the set of all things that are  
> butterflies". There are problems with taking any of those too literally.  
> For me, the key value in the Svenonius quote is not that it tells us  
> what these things refer to, but that it reminds us that we're in the  
> business of connecting people with information. I can live quite happily  
> without there being any story about what some SKOS concept refers  
> directly to, so long as we emphasise its various named associations with  
> documents and their topics; with user interests, needs and expertise,  
> and also (hello, OWL...) with more formal descriptions of the world.

Very nicely put. 

Cheers,

Alistair

-- 
Alistair Miles
Senior Computing Officer
Image Bioinformatics Research Group
Department of Zoology
The Tinbergen Building
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
Oxford
OX1 3PS
United Kingdom
Web: http://purl.org/net/aliman
Email: alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 281993
Received on Thursday, 19 February 2009 11:01:41 GMT

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