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Re: SKOS Comment (Reference WD June 2008) - broaderTransitive < broader, narrowerTransitive < narrower

From: Leonard Will <L.Will@willpowerinfo.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 21:44:20 +0100
Message-ID: <3oZNwVPkW3kIFA+c@mail.willpowerinfo.co.uk>
To: public-esw-thes@w3.org, public-swd-wg@w3.org

On Mon, 28 Jul 2008 at 15:46:28, Alistair Miles 
<alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk> wrote
>I had a go at improving the preamble to section 8, but I'm afraid I may 
>have made it worse not better :) I'm particularly not sure the use of 
>"ancestor" and "descendant" helps.
>I'd be very grateful if you could take a quick look:

Personally I find the use of "ancestor" and "descendant" to be helpful, 
especially when contrasted with "parent" and "child" (these latter terms 
are commonly used in the thesaurus community).

I still wonder about the actual cases where transitivity is a real 
issue, though. In thesaurus work, when necessary, we distinguish three 
types of hierarchical relationship: generic (is_a), partitive 
(is_part_of) and instantial (is_an_instance_of). The instance 
relationship is a special case of the generic relationship, where the 
narrower concept is a "class-of-one", commonly identified by a proper 
name, and therefore has no narrower relationships.

If applied properly, so that they are universally true within the field 
covered by the thesaurus, generic and partitive relationships separately 
are transitive, but a mixture of them is not. Thesaurus standards 
recommend that partitive relationships should normally be used only for 
a few specific types of concept, viz: systems and organs of the body, 
geographical locations, disciplines or fields of discourse and 
hierarchical social structures.

Instead of using the terms "broaderTransitive" and "broader", it would 
be clearer and in keeping with thesaurus practice to use 
"broaderGeneric", "broaderPartitive" and "broaderInstantial" as well as 
the general relationship "broader" (which would not be transitive if it 
allowed a mixture of the specific types).

Is there any other type of "broader/narrower" relationship that is not 
covered by these types?

I seem to recall being told previously that because SKOS had to 
accommodate existing thesauri, some of which did not apply the 
relationship rules rigorously, a more general approach had to be taken, 
but I am not yet convinced (though open to argument!).

If we have an invalid relationship, such as the one Simon Spero quoted 
from LCSH:

Technological  innovations BT Creative ability in technology

then I suppose it can be labelled by the general, intransitive, BT 
relationship until the editors have time to correct it to RT. 
("Innovations" are not kinds or parts of "ability").

Leonard Will

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Received on Friday, 1 August 2008 20:45:06 UTC

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