W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-esw-thes@w3.org > December 2008

Re: ISSUE-160: Allowing collections in semantic relationships

From: Aida Slavic <aida@acorweb.net>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2008 11:49:41 +0000
Message-ID: <494795D5.70902@acorweb.net>
To: Skos <public-esw-thes@w3.org>

Hi Antoine,

>>  From the point of view of interoperability it may be better (cheaper 
>> and easier) if people have to simplify a complex format than if we all 
>> have to extend dumbed down formats. If more classes are needed by an 
>> entire community of users then it is far better that these classes are 
>> added by SKOS developers than by users.
>> Standards have also power of introducing and instructing about a good 
>> practice.
> I'm really not sure about this. Dublin Core has proven to be an immense 
> help for exchange of information, even if its users are often accusing 
> it of incompleteness or fuzziness.
> Would the result have been the same if the proposed standard had been 
> close to MARC?

MARC is an example of the opposite extreme with a format that started bad and
caused proliferation of national formats that did not manage to correct what was
essentially wrong in terms of data modelling.
Dublin Core is sound but so dumbed down that was for many implementors debilitating.
I actually wanted to give the example of Dublin Core to support my exwact
argument above and very frustrating experience for many expensive projects who
were led to believe that Dublin Core is entirely sufficient to support resource
discovery  - only to discover that simplicity was rather deceiving, and they all
finished doing expensive process of building application profiles and extensions
which proliferated like mushrooms. More time, duplication of efforts and money
was then put into improving interoperability between thousands of Dublin Core
formats, application profile repositories, alignments etc.

> Further, there is the philosophy of the semantic web, which claim that a 
> set of minimal vocabularies that extend each other, if reasonable to 
> achieve, is more desirable than all-encompassing, complex things. 
> Semantc web makes it *really* easy to extend models and still being 
> *fully* compatible with them.
> So I think SKOS is oriented towards being used in combination with 
> "application profiles", such as the SKOS-XL we've proposed.

I would suggest that the 'philosophy of semantic web' in this case should be
taken cum grano salis. It would be bad if one would strip SKOS of possibility to
express the desirable and well justified intelligence that is captured by
controlled vocabularies, just for the sake of keeping things simple. In many
cases these, at first sight, 'unnecessary' nuances are those that make big
difference when it comes to meaning and knowledge.

The argument that SKOS and ISO should be kept different on purpose is not very
good one either... Having a choice is a good thing and if both standards confirm
the same good practice is very important

Received on Tuesday, 16 December 2008 11:50:25 UTC

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