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SKOS Core Guide new introduction

From: Miles, AJ (Alistair) <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 13:49:08 -0000
Message-ID: <F5839D944C66C049BDB45F4C1E3DF89D18DB5D@exchange31.fed.cclrc.ac.uk>
To: 'Thomas Baker' <thomas.baker@bi.fhg.de>, SWAD Europe Thesaurus <public-esw-thes@w3.org>

Hi all,

In response to basic issues 1 & 2 from Tom (see below) I've reworked the
introductory section of the SKOS Core Guide:


What do you think?

Haven't tried a new abstract as yet.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org
> [mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Thomas Baker
> Sent: 10 January 2005 13:32
> To: SWAD Europe Thesaurus
> Subject: Review of SKOS documents - 1/2
> Dear all,
> As a member of the Semantic Web Best Practices working group
> I was asked to review several SKOS documents, and Alistair
> suggested I re-post my comments for discussion here as well.
> I only recently joined this list and do not know if some of
> the questions I raise haven't already been discussed, perhaps
> even at length.  Also, as I make clear in my comments, I tend
> to read things through Dublin Core glasses.
> I divided my comments into two parts: basic issues (attached
> below) and points of stylistic detail (the next message).
> Tom
> ---
> Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 10:46:03 +0100
> From: Thomas Baker <thomas.baker@bi.fhg.de>
> To: "Miles, AJ (Alistair)" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>
> Cc: "'public-swbp-wg@w3.org'" <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>
> Subject: Re: [ALL] PORT documents for internal review - 1/2
> Sender: public-swbp-wg-request@w3.org
> > The following documents are submitted to the working group 
> for internal
> > review:
> > 
> > (A) SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification (2004-12-17 version)
> > http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/spec/2004-12-17.html
> > 
> > (B) SKOS Core Guide (2004-11-25 version)
> > http://www.w3.org/2004/02/skos/core/guide/2004-11-25.html
> > 
> > (C) Quick Guide to Publishing a Thesaurus on the Semantic 
> Web (2004-11-17
> > version)
> > http://www.w3.org/2004/03/thes-tf/primer/2004-11-17.html
> > 
> > The nominated reviewers for these documents are:
> > 
> > Mark van Assem (on behalf of Guus Schreiber)
> > Tom Baker
> > 
> > Reviews should be posted to this list by 10 January 2005.
> My review focuses on Document B -- the 40-page overview of SKOS
> Core -- though my comments have implications for the other two.
> Overall, this is excellent, careful work.  I want to say
> this up-front because, after a close reading of the document,
> I end up raising quite a few points of detail.
> My second posting will raise points of wording and
> presentation.  This posting covers three more fundamental
> issues:
> 1. Reaching the intended audience
>    As discussed in the telecon of 16 December [1]:
>    >   The guide is human-readable intro - how to use it:
>    >   features of vocabulary, with examples.  In the last
>    >   telecon, we agreed to make it accessible to non-RDF
>    >   people, but proved to be nearly impossible to write -
>    >   would have been extremely long.  Rather, we restrict
>    >   the scope to people who basically understand RDF,
>    >   then if we want to present porting issues, we will
>    >   do that in a separate doc which explains basic
>    >   concepts (not yet written).  From there, we can
>    >   look at developing add'nl method notes.
>    A separate document on "basic concepts" will be a useful
>    thing, but in the meantime a bit more introduction is
>    perhaps needed in the SKOS Core Guide itself.
>    The Guide does assume that the reader is RDF-literate.
>    However, it presents that RDF in the form of RDF/XML
>    serialization syntax.  While the Introduction emphasizes
>    that SKOS Core is not "an XML syntax for concept schemes",
>    this is done to make the point that N3/Turtle or N-Triple
>    could be used just as well -- and not to reinforce the
>    more basic point that "what is fundamental to RDF is the
>    graph model" [RDF-PRIMER].
>    One or two simple node-arc diagrams right at the beginning
>    of the draft might be a simple and readable way to present
>    the "basic concepts" behind SKOS.
>    For example, the example concept from the Quick Guide
>    ("Economic cooperation") illustrates in itself some basic
>    features of SKOS Core: skos:Concepts, related to other
>    broader or narrower skos:Concepts, with preferred versus
>    alternate labels.  Presenting this one example as a simple
>    diagram with labeled arcs and nodes could be a good way
>    to present the basic idea.
>    The introductory message, then, could convey something
>    like the following message:
>       Thesauri represent semantic relations among concepts
>       [insert "Economic cooperation" example here, along with
>       citations for BS8723, ISO 2788, and other thesaurus
>       standards].
>       Here is how the example looks as an RDF graph using the
>       SKOS Core vocabulary [inser a node-and-arc diagram here].
>       If your vocabulary has a similar structure, you will
>       be interested in reading this Guide because it will
>       tell you how you can express your vocabulary in, or
>       translate your vocabulary into, an RDF model using the
>       SKOS Core vocabulary.  Using the RDF model will allow
>       your vocabulary to be linked to or merged with other
>       data structures by RDF applications.
> 2. What SKOS Core "is"
>    The Abstract begins:
>         "SKOS Core is a supporting RDF Vocabulary..."
>    To me, this choice of wording raises several questions
>    that are not really answered in the rest of the text.
>    Someone familiar with RDF -- the target audience of
>    the draft -- might correctly take an "RDF Vocabulary"
>    to be something like "a vocabulary of terms usable as
>    Properties and Classes in the RDF model".  In the absence
>    of a definition, however, the reader could confuse it with
>    "The RDF Vocabulary" ("a set of URI references in the rdf:
>    namespace" [2]).  Some readers, concluding that SKOS Core is
>    only relevant to people who are already "using RDF", might
>    stop reading right here.  A definition of "RDF vocabulary"
>    up-front, with a pointer to [3], could address this.
>    But is the SKOS Core Guide really primarily about a
>    vocabulary?  Or is it really about a particular data
>    model based, in turn, on the RDF model?  Reducing SKOS
>    Core to the vocabulary alone seems a bit like reducing
>    RDF to "The RDF Vocabulary".  Saying that SKOS Core is a
>    "supporting" vocabulary makes one ask: supporting what?
>    Rather, describing SKOS Core as a "model" for expressing
>    knowledge organization structures such as thesauri could
>    perhaps correct this narrow perspective, shifting the
>    reader's attention to the model of entities being described
>    ("skos:Concepts" and relationships between them) and how
>    the vocabulary "supports" that model.
> 3. Ownership and maintenance of SKOS
>    In the Vocabulary Management task force, we are trying to
>    formulate (and illustrate) a best-practice guideline to
>    the effect that vocabulary maintainers should "articulate
>    and publish maintenance policies for the Terms and their
>    URI references".  It is not clear from the documents (in
>    particular the SKOS Core Vocabulary Specification) who
>    is ultimately taking responsibility for the maintenance
>    of the SKOS vocabulary.  Is W3C implicitly assuming that
>    responsibility?  I'm wondering to what extent the SWBPD
>    working group needs to address these questions as a basis
>    for any recommendations it may want to issue.
>    As a related issue, the Vocabulary Spec is generated from
>    the RDF representation, implying that the RDF representation
>    is canonical and the Web document is derived.  Yet it is
>    the Web document that we are reviewing, presumably to
>    assign the Web document some sort of status in the W3C
>    context.  Which representation is primarily the object of
>    maintenance?  This relationship between the Web document
>    and the underlying RDF representation should perhaps be
>    addressed in the Introduction.
> [1] 
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-mt/
[3] http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-schema/

Dr. Thomas Baker                        Thomas.Baker@izb.fraunhofer.de
Institutszentrum Schloss Birlinghoven         mobile +49-160-9664-2129
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft                          work +49-30-8109-9027
53754 Sankt Augustin, Germany                    fax +49-2241-144-2352
Personal email: thbaker79@alumni.amherst.edu
Received on Tuesday, 25 January 2005 13:49:46 UTC

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