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Re: Symbols and depictions

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 11:36:00 -0500 (EST)
To: Thomas Baker <thomas.baker@bi.fhg.de>
Cc: "Miles, AJ (Alistair)" <A.J.Miles@rl.ac.uk>, "'public-esw-thes@w3.org'" <public-esw-thes@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.55.0501271129550.11149@homer.w3.org>

On Thu, 27 Jan 2005, Thomas Baker wrote:

>On Mon, Jan 24, 2005 at 03:26:33PM -0000, Alistair Miles wrote:
>> So a depiction and a symbolic label are different things.
>> Often in a symbolic concept scheme a concept may have a symbolic label that
>> also happens to be a depiction of that concept.  For example, I could use a
>> dog shape as a symbol for the concept [skos:prefLabel 'dogs';
>> skos:definition 'a common four-legged animal, especially kept by people as a
>> pet or to hunt or guard things'].  In this case the image is both a
>> depiction and a symbolic label for the concept.
>> However, just because an image is used as a symbolic label for a concept,
>> does not mean it is necessarily a depiction of that concept.  (i.e.
>> foaf:depiction should *not* be a super-prop of
>> skos:altSymbol/skos:prefSymbol).
>> Does this make sense?
>Actually, I have trouble understanding the distinction as
>well -- but that doesn't really matter.  The real question is
>whether the distinction makes sense to the probable users of
>SKOS, such as thesaurus experts.  I was assuming that SKOS
>is not the first to introduce the distinction -- that it is
>defined in some of the other thesaurus standards mentioned
>in the document.  What might help, then, would be to make
>that connection to other models clear in a sentence or two,
>with bibliographic references.

How does this work, as a rough cut. (Actually, as with scope notes, a rough
cut is sometimes more useful than a formal definition :-)

A depiction is a picture of something - it actually shows the thing. Like a
photo of a dog, a passport photo of a person, or a drawing of a ship. It can
be considered as similar to a visual "definition".

A symbol is a picture that represents something. It might be a picture of
something else. In many places a stylised picture of a man or a woman
represents a bathroom. On highways around the world a picture of a knife and
fork represents a "restaurant". In a Web browser, a little stylised house
represents the page you like to have as a "base" that you can return to
easily, or start browsing from. Or it might be a depiction as well - a photo
of a dog representing something. A symbol can be considered as a visual


Received on Thursday, 27 January 2005 16:36:03 UTC

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