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Re: unique altLabels

From: Leonard Will <L.Will@willpowerinfo.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2004 12:37:08 +0000
Message-ID: <9qRGjsL0NaVAFAnI@willpowerinfo.co.uk>
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org

In message 
<350DC7048372D31197F200902773DF4C04944166@exchange11.rl.ac.uk> on Mon, 
15 Mar 2004, "Miles, AJ (Alistair)" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk> wrote
>Leonard wrote:
>[Quote from SKOS-Core guide:]
>"It is perfectly reasonable, however, to assign a concept a preferred label
>that is also an alternative label for some other concept."
>> This is contrary to thesaurus practice and standards, and would cause 
>>problems. Labels should be unique, and are made so by the  addition of 
>>a qualifier in parentheses if necessary.
>Leonard could you outline exactly the problems this would cause?

When you enter a vocabulary with a term, you don't know whether it is 
preferred or non-preferred. It should still lead you unambiguously to a 
single concept. This allows for automatic substitution of preferred 
terms for non-preferred terms when indexing or searching (or automatic 
linkage of documents to the appropriate concepts, if the actual terms 
are not used).

If you use a term that is ambiguous, such as "seals", then there is 
normally an initial process of "disambiguation", which presents options 
from which the user has to choose, e.g.

seals (closures)
seals (mammals) USE Pinnepedia

In this example the first of these is a preferred term and the second is 
a non-preferred term (or "alternative label" if you wish).

If you look up "seals" in an alphabetical sequence the two entries above 
are immediately evident. If a machine is accessing the thesaurus, there 
may need to be some provision for it to match the term without the 
parenthetical qualifiers and take steps to determine which of the 
options is appropriate. This seems to be a separate step, though, and 
does not imply that the unqualified term is an alternative label for 
either of the concepts.

Chaals raises the issue of merging different vocabularies. I think that 
that is a different issue and raises many other complications, but as he 
says the extra verification or disambiguation step that I have described 
above applies there too.  As the present SKOS draft doesn't cover 
questions of mapping between vocabularies, I think we should keep it to 
what is necessary and desirable for a single vocabulary.

Willpower Information       (Partners: Dr Leonard D Will, Sheena E Will)
Information Management Consultants              Tel: +44 (0)20 8372 0092
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L.Will@Willpowerinfo.co.uk               Sheena.Will@Willpowerinfo.co.uk
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Received on Monday, 15 March 2004 07:39:28 UTC

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