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From: Aida Slavic <aida@acorweb.net>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 19:27:50 +0000
Message-ID: <490B5C36.2020707@acorweb.net>
To: Skos <public-esw-thes@w3.org>


Thanks for your comment - it is well worth pondering about. We only need to know 
how little we know about cognitive processes (and cognitive linguistics and 
semantics) to be very careful about SCOS/SKOS issue.

Maybe SKOS may serve theoretically for : a)language-purposed vocabulary b) 
subject indexing vocabulary and even c) store 'document vocabulary' (i.e. 
natural language of the document itself) d) real world representation

But I have many doubts that plunging into this would help.
SKOS' started with the easiest task: the one of supporting subject indexing 
languages: a little formalized sets of well organized vocabularies. This is 
where we all know it can make a difference and bring many benefits very quickly 
and with least effort. But even here it seems awfully hard to agree about basics

 > that I call Knowledge Representation Resources. Howard has just
 > broadened that view. Some in this group will have heard me invoke the
 > distinction by Svenonius and Doug Tudhope between subject-purposed
 > vocabulary and language-purposed vocabulary -- are we talking about
 > /resources about butterflies /(in which case our instances are
 > books/articles/webpages/etc. that have butterflies as their object of
 > study), or are we talking about /butterflies/ (mostly beautiful,
 > graceful insects that feed on flower nectar, etc.). Or in Howard's case,

And what an important distinction this is, indeed.
KOS such as thesauri, documentary classification and subject heading systems are 
created for mediation of knowledge. They are 'interpreters' of recorded 
knowledge and external to documents as carriers of recorded knowledge.

They have three sides to them:

1) They "mediate"  and control relationships between thoughts (concepts) and 
language - so at first glance they appear to be the same as any other language
But their function and strength is precisely in their being detached/separate 
from the language of the document itself and from the language user would use 
when searching.

2) they are formalised systems based on certain convention (scientific, 
educational, cultural...) in order to achieve predictability. They interpret 
language terms within a certain knowledge context: certain subject, scientific 
point of view, task, audience or disciplines, knowledge field etc. Hence the 
'same' concept in one KOS will have different broader/narrower relationships in 
different KOS...

3) they may also contain 'vocabulary aparatus' to express relationship between 
the external (objective?! no Popper intended) knowledge and the one recorded in 
the document, or its presentation in a given document  - as well as relationship 
between knowledge and document as a carrier

So for people using SKOS would best serve its purpose of supporting this kind of 
resource discovery by allowing us to manage links between: KOS > 
document-metadata > document itself,  independently.
For the first phase of SKOS some of these things above were not relevant - but 
when OWL got involved then the purpose/task, function and information/metadata 
architecture became very important.
And somehow I don't have the feeling that there is a clear understanding of the 

It is going to be very interesting to see how discussion on language vocabulary 
(morphology, syntax, grammar) would go should we decide to follow SCOS part :-)

Received on Friday, 31 October 2008 19:28:37 UTC

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