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Re: NEED RESOLUTION: "Define" a class, or "Declare" a class? "Define" a property, or "Declare" a property?

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 12:50:08 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <20030309.125008.70977289.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: costello@mitre.org
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org

From: "Roger L. Costello" <costello@mitre.org>
Subject: NEED RESOLUTION: "Define" a class, or "Declare" a class? "Define" a property, or "Declare" a property?
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 09:13:02 -0500

> Steven Gollery wrote:
> > What would be the right verb, then? For instance, the OWL Guide says:
> >
> > This document demonstrates the use of the OWL language to
> >
> >   1. formalize a domain by defining classes and properties of those
> >       classes,
> >   2. define individuals and assert properties about them, and
> >
> > What would be appropriate in place of "defining" and "defines"?
> Right on Steven!  When writing or talking about OWL there needs to be
> some accepted term for "the creation of a class/property".
> Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
> "You might consider the part of an OWL DL ontology that provides this
> information as declarations of OWL properties."
> Peter, you used the term "declaration".  Are you saying that the proper
> terminology is to use "declaration", as exemplified by these
> statements:
>     Here is the "declaration" of  the River class.
>     Here is the "declaration" of the length property.

Nope, I'm not saying this.

> This topic may seem small, but I feel that it is important.  Without
> the "correct" terminology people (such as myself) are left in a void
> when trying to write or talk about OWL.  /Roger

Well, the point is that OWL doesn't really have the notion of definining or
even declaring classes, properties, or individuals.

OWL DL and OWL Lite do require that there be some way of determining
whether a name used as a property is an object property or a data-valued
property, and thus that property axioms do have some aspects of a

If you want to be precise, you should say that a class or property axiom is
providing information about a class or property, just as a fact provides
information about an individual.  If you want to be sloppy, and no harm
results, there is little reason not to use definition (particularly for
complete class axioms), but you should remember that you are being sloppy.

Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Bell Labs Research
Lucent Technologies
Received on Sunday, 9 March 2003 12:50:24 UTC

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