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Re: SKOS for schema.org proposal for discussion

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2013 12:57:35 +0200
Message-ID: <CAK4ZFVGcaZMo0zuYH__OQosSXMm8dsr3ewGVcy2GsT1hB9tDPw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ed Summers <ehs@pobox.com>
Cc: "public-vocabs@w3.org" <public-vocabs@w3.org>
Hi all

2013/10/8 Ed Summers <ehs@pobox.com>

> I guess I missed an earlier conversation about this, but why do folks
> want to import SKOS into schema.org? Can't they just use SKOS as is in
> their HTML using RDFa or Microdata? Is the expectation that putting it
> into schema.org will make it more likely to be used by both Web
> publishers and consumers (crawlers, etc)?

I have the same feeling. SKOS was developed to enable migration of library
KOS legacy (thesaurus, classifications) to the Semantic Web, whereas
schema.org has a completely different story and focus, which is making web
content better readable by search engines. Neither protagonists in this
story (Web developers and search engines) are librarians.

> In general I agree with Guha that skos:Concept seems pretty close to
> Resource, or really, schema:Thing.

Representing something as a skos:Concept is just a librarian trick to use
this thing for indexing, classification, search and retrieval etc. Nothing
is a skos:Concept before you look at it with librarian glasses, and if you
put those glasses on, everything can be. Remember endless discussions a
while ago about Michelle Obama being a concept or not. And the way for
example VIAF deals with this is OK in library world, with "authorities"
being represented both as e.g., foaf:Person and skos:Concept, linked by
foaf:focus, see e.g., http://viaf.org/viaf/9847974/rdf.xml

Obviously schema.org does not need to go down those alleys, if you want to
say you speak about a Person you use schema.org/Person and you're done.
What is lacking in schema.org are not SKOS artifacts for librarians, but
ways to indicate topics which do no fall neatly in real-world types
schema.org is typically about, such as cars, books, restaurants ...
Mainly the need is to express things that are "intangible topics", more or

Hence, why not simply define a subclass of schema.org/Intangible called
schema.org/Topic for concepts (so to speak) such as democracy, friendship,
anger, hunger, inflation, disagreement ... which have not yet found a
better place elsewhere in the schema. Maybe at some point will be
introduced schema.org/Feeling or schema.org/EconomicConcept and some of
those "topics" will find a better place.

> For example, if I squint enough,
> schema.org starts looking like a skos:conceptScheme. One of the things
> I liked about schema.org initially was its concreteness.

Indeed, that's why I like Topic which seems more "concrete" than Concept

> There are
> lots of very plain types that people can choose to use without having
> to think too hard about them. I personally don't think giving people
> machinery to start saying abstract things about concepts is going to
> be terribly fruitful.


*Bernard Vatant
Vocabularies & Data Engineering
Tel :  + 33 (0)9 71 48 84 59
Skype : bernard.vatant
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Received on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 10:58:25 UTC

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