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Re: [SKOS comment] Re: Call for Comments: SKOS Primer: W3C Working Draft 21 February 2008

From: Antoine Isaac <aisaac@few.vu.nl>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 00:06:48 +0200
Message-ID: <485ECCF8.20102@few.vu.nl>
To: Alasdair J G Gray <agray@dcs.gla.ac.uk>
CC: SWD WG <public-swd-wg@w3.org>, SKOS <public-esw-thes@w3.org>

Dear Alasdair,

[Sorry to have taken such a time to come back to you. But indeed I think 
your comment, which is very editorial, should actually be treated at the 
end, once the definitive shape of the document is more precisely known. 
Of course that does not say that it is not an important one. I thank you 
for it, and have been thinking quite a while before answering it...]

I will not contradict you about the fact that Collections are used in 
many vocabularies. However, and that's the reason why I had put it in 
the 'advanced' section, it is much less used than the features in the 
'basic' section (labels, semantic relations, notes and concept schemes).
Indeed I've now been continuously SKOSifying vocabularies for three 
years now, and I've never used it myself. And I've even been reported in 
one case actual collections being represented as normal Concepts, 
because the notion of Collection is too constrained in SKOS -- you 
cannot include it in the semantic network using skos:broader.

Therefore I'd like to continue to have them in the 'advanced' section. 
Which, I'd like to remind you, contains things like transitive 
hierarchies or specialisation of hierarchical relationships (part-of 
etc.) which will be used very often, also. So that's not too bad  a 
company I think ;-)
Then, maybe youd' like the section on 'networking' to be after the 
'advanced' one. But I really think we would loose a bit the emphasis on 
how "semantic-webish"  SKOS can be...

I'm looking forward for your reaction,



PS: the case of Collections represented as

> With regard to section 4, I would argue that the section on 
> Collections is vital in the primer as these are features that exist in 
> many vocabularies and as such are not necessarily an advanced feature.
> Alasdair
> Antoine Isaac wrote:
>> Dear Azamat,
>>> I had this message several times. To ignore it might look impolite.
>> So would be ignoring your answer. However, to optimize the chances it 
>> gets a proper answer, I forward it to the two lists where people can 
>> react to it.
>> Please be aware that SKOS is mainly intended at practitioners in 
>> search of a standard solution to express different kind of controlled 
>> vocabularies in the Semantic Web. And practitioners are also involved 
>> in its design.
>> It is therefore no surprise that some parallels are drawn and some 
>> generalizations made, which do not fit the views of semanticists on 
>> the subject (which are in any case, I think, too many to be 
>> seamlessly reconciled, as your wikipedia quotations highlight it)
>> Notice in this respect that the problem originates in the scope of 
>> SKOS itself: the things that we aim at representing are very diverse: 
>> some classification schemes use "codes" and refer to "classes", 
>> thesauri have "terms" and so on.
>> Yet, it happens, looking at the way these things are used now and 
>> will be in the near future (with more and more links established 
>> between them), that (i) some standardisation has to take place, and 
>> that (ii) this standardisation can be actually grounded on some 
>> observed practical similarities (http://www.w3.org/TR/skos-ucr/)
>> Our aim is not to replace the original objects in their initial 
>> context of use, but to allow to port them to a shared space, based on 
>> a simplified model, enabling wider re-use and better interoperability.
>> This space is indeed new, and would call for new concepts 
>> (constructs?) and names: but how to grasp something like a 
>> "concept-or-term-or-keyword-or-class-or-tag-or-heading"?
>> This of course shall not allow us to make too broad assumptions or 
>> too loose wordings, and your mail may prove useful in this respect. 
>> But I don't expect that the gain with respect to application 
>> interoperability can be achieved without paying some sort of price 
>> with respect to theoretical purity.
>> Best regards
>> Antoine
>>> Some brief comments on two basic assumptions.
>>> I.  ''SKOS  Simple Knowledge Organisation System  provides a model 
>>> for expressing the basic structure and content of concept schemes 
>>> such as thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, 
>>> taxonomies, folksonomies, and other types of controlled vocabulary.''
>>> Here is a confusion of different entities: constructs and words 
>>> (terms). Besides, it is the domain of global ontology to cover all 
>>> sorts of controlled vocabulary. No need to invent the SKOS.
>>> II. ''The fundamental element of the SKOS vocabulary is the concept. 
>>> Concepts denote ideas or meanings that are the units of thought 
>>> [Willpower Glossary] which underly the KOSs used in a number of 
>>> applications [SKOS-UCR]. As such, concepts exist in the mind as 
>>> abstract entities which are independent of the terms used to label 
>>> them.''
>>> Here is a bad misunderstanding of the nature of semantics and its 
>>> basic notions; namely:
>>> 1. Vocabulary is a listing of words or the system of symbols and 
>>> techniques, and hardly it is a conceptual system.
>>> 2. No ''concepts denote ideas or meanings''. There is general 
>>> semantic rule: some symbols (signs) designate, while all constructs 
>>> mean something in the world. Then, symbols (or signs) designate 
>>> constructs (ideas, concepts, propositions, or theories), whereas the 
>>> constructs mean real things. So the ideas are expressed by words, 
>>> which signify the real entities to be named. Thus the meanings of 
>>> ideas are signified by words, not by concepts. We say significance 
>>> of the symbol and the meaning of the construct, what might be 
>>> equivalent.
>>> 3. There are words (signs, symbols, terms, codes) which signify only 
>>> things in the world or only the ideas in the mind or both ideas and 
>>> things.
>>> 4. Concept is the unit construct, and the construct covers concept 
>>> (individual, class, relation), proposition, context, and theory.
>>> Summing up:
>>> If somebody is striving for semantic web, he must have a good 
>>> learning about the nature of meaning 
>>> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_%28linguistic%29 ) and the 
>>> modes of signification ( 
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sign)determined by the kinds of things 
>>> signified and the kinds of things which signify (signs, symbols, 
>>> codes, terms, words).
>>> azamat abdoullaev
>>> more on semantics see
>>> http://www.igi-pub.com/books/details.asp?id=7641
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Antoine Isaac" <aisaac@few.vu.nl>
>>> To: <semantic-web@w3.org>
>>> Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 12:02 AM
>>> Subject: Call for Comments: SKOS Primer: W3C Working Draft 21 
>>> February 2008
Received on Sunday, 22 June 2008 22:09:25 UTC

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