W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-esw-thes@w3.org > December 2009

RE: Using DBpedia resources as skos:Concepts?

From: Simon Cox <simon.cox@jrc.ec.europa.eu>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 15:32:09 +0100
To: "'Simon Spero'" <ses@unc.edu>, "'martin'" <martin@ics.forth.gr>
Cc: <public-esw-thes@w3.org>, "'Thomas Baker'" <thomasbaker49@googlemail.com>, <maltese@disi.unitn.it>
Message-ID: <D69A9BB6725E428BA7EAB91E7B29C996@H07.jrc.it>
In conversation with the taxonomy/biodiversity community the term 'voucher' was used as the generalization of the photo/notebook-page/specimen in the museum. 
This is the managed artefact that is evidence of an organism occurence in the wild. 

Simon Cox


From: public-esw-thes-request@w3.org [mailto:public-esw-thes-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Simon Spero
Sent: Tuesday, 1 December 2009 21:49
To: martin
Cc: public-esw-thes@w3.org; Thomas Baker; maltese@disi.unitn.it
Subject: Re: Using DBpedia resources as skos:Concepts?

I don't think we're actually disagreeing, but let me see if I can explain the frogalopes.  The change in semantics I was referring to was the decision to reject the interpretation of broader/narrower as being that of total inclusion over monosemes.


Natural history museums also are witnesses of “cultural features.” A frog in a museum is not a testimony of 
“what a frog is,” but of what a human culture, at a given point in time and space, thinks a frog is.  (Bekiari et. al. 2009,n.4)

And Antelopes 
This section is taken from Buckland (1997). 

Ordinarily the word "document" denotes a textual record. Increasingly sophisticated attempts to provide access to the rapidly growing quantity of available documents raised questions about which should be considered a "document". The answer is important for any definition of the scope of Information Science. Paul Otlet and others developed a functional view of "document" and discussed whether, for example, sculpture, museum objects, and live animals, could be considered "documents". Suzanne Briet equated "document" with organized physical evidence. These ideas appear to resemble notions of "material culture" in cultural anthropology and "object-as-sign" in semiotics. Others, especially in the USA (e.g. Jesse Shera and Louis Shores) took a narrower view. New digital technology renews old questions and also old confusions between medium, message, and meaning. 


In 1951 Briet published a manifesto on the nature of documentation, Qu'est-ce que la documentation, which starts with the assertion that "A document is evidence in support of a fact." ("Un document est une preuve à l'appui d'un fait" (Briet, 1951, 7). She then elaborates: A document is "any physical or symbolic sign, preserved or recorded, intended to represent, to reconstruct, or to demonstrate a physical or conceptual phenomenon". ("Tout indice concret ou symbolique, conservé ou enregistré, aux fins de représenter, de reconstituer ou de prouver un phénomène ou physique ou intellectuel." p. 7.) The implication is that documentation should not be viewed as being concerned with texts but with access to evidence.

The antelope as document

Briet enumerates six objects and asks if each is a document.

Object --- Document?
Star in sky -- No
Photo of star -- Yes
Stone in river -- No
Stone in museum -- Yes
Animal in wild -- No
Animal in zoo -- Yes

There is discussion of an antelope. An antelope running wild on the plains of Africa should not be considered a document, she rules. But if it were to be captured, taken to a zoo and made an object of study, it has been made into a document. It has become physical evidence being used by those who study it. Not only that, but scholarly articles written about the antelope are secondary documents, since the antelope itself is the primary document.

Briet's rules for determining when an object has become a document are not made clear. We infer, however, from her discussion that:

1. There is materiality: Physical objects and physical signs only;

2. There is intentionality: It is intended that the object be treated as evidence;

3. The objects have to be processed: They have to be made into documents; and, we think,

4. There is a phenomenological position: The object is perceived to be a document.

This situation is reminiscent of discussions of how an image is made art by framing it as art. Did Briet mean that just as "art" is made art by "framing" (i.e. treating) it as art, so an object becomes a "document" when it is treated as a document, i.e. as a physical or symbolic sign, preserved or recorded, intended to represent, to reconstruct, or to demonstrate a physical or conceptual phenomenon? The sources of these views are not made clear, though she does mention in this context her friend Raymond Bayer, a professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne, who specialized aesthetics and phenomenology.

Ron Day (1996) has suggested, very plausibly, that Briet's use of the word "indice" is important, that it is indexicality--the quality of having been placed in an organized, meaningful relationship with other evidence--that gives an object its documentary status. 

Bekiari, Chryssoula, Martin Doerr, and Patrick Le Bœuf (2009). FRBR object-oriented definition and mapping to FRBR-ER (version 1.0). International Working Group on FRBR and CIDOC CRM Harmonisation. 
    url: http://cidoc.ics.forth.gr/docs/frbr_oo/frbr_docs/FRBRoo_V1.0_draft__2009_may_.pdf .
Briet, Suzanne (1951). What is Documentation? Ed. by Ronald E Day and Laurent Martinet. Paris, France:  Édit. 
     url: http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~roday/briet.htm.
Buckland, M.K. (1997). “What is a “Document”?” In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science 48.9, pp. 804–809.
    url: http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~buckland/whatdoc.html .
Received on Wednesday, 2 December 2009 14:33:10 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 19:45:59 UTC