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Re: Glossary of terms relating to thesauri and faceted classification

From: Leonard Will <L.Will@willpowerinfo.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2005 20:31:52 +0000
Message-ID: <As5qvnC48s6BFAdK@willpowerinfo.co.uk>
To: SKOS <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Cc: Alan Gilchrist <cura@fastnet.co.uk>, Ron Davies <ron@rondavies.be>

In message <20050115150223.GA1840@Octavius> on Sat, 15 Jan 2005, Thomas 
Baker <thomas.baker@bi.fhg.de> wrote
>With SKOS-compatibility in mind, one point of possible confusion 
>catches my eye: the term "term".  In the glossary, "term" is defined as 
>a "word or phrase used to identify a concept".
>In SKOS, however, a "term" is a member of the SKOS vocabulary -- it is 
>a "class or property". In SKOS, the class or property is "identified" 
>with a URI and associated with words or phrases called "labels".
>Saying in the glossary that a term is a "word or phrase used to _label_ 
>a concept" would seem to be one step closer to SKOS

Tom -

Thanks for these comments. Our British Standards working party will meet 
on 25th January, and we plan to discuss them then.

Personally I would be happy to go along with the use of "label" here; we 
have already used it in the definition of "quasi-synonym" and the note 
under "scope note". To be consistent with SKOS, I suppose we should say 
that non-descriptors are alternative labels for concepts, while 
descriptors are the labels to be used in indexing.

>These problems could perhaps be addressed with careful wording. 
>However, I'm not sure much can be done to avoid the terminology clash 
>between a thesaurus "term" (a natural-language label, which may 
>sometimes also be a descriptor identifying a concept) and an SKOS 
>"term" (a concept, or unit of thought, identified with a URI and 
>labelled with natural-language "labels"). Both uses of "term" are 
>fundamental to their respective communities.  "Term" is perhaps one of 
>those words that is doomed to have multiple functions -- e.g. even in 
>the title: a "Glossary of terms...".

If SKOS uses "term" as a synonym for "concept", I think that that is 
unfortunate. Apart from the fact that the natural-language 
interpretations of the two words are quite different, a controlled 
vocabulary such as that of SKOS terminology should ideally not contain 
two words for the same thing. (Or are you saying that in SKOS a concept 
only becomes a "term" once it is
identified with a URI and labelled with natural-language "labels"?)

We may have to accept a certain looseness of meaning, though, because 
even in the thesaurus community it is conventional to talk of broader, 
narrower and related terms (BT, NT, RT) whereas it would really be more 
correct to speak about broader, narrower and related concepts.

I'll make any agreed changes to the glossary after our meeting on the 


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Received on Sunday, 16 January 2005 20:35:00 UTC

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