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Re: Using DBpedia resources as skos:Concepts?

From: Simon Spero <ses@unc.edu>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 21:23:40 -0500
Message-ID: <1af06bde0911271823s1a411d89l82ee8990a3a9437d@mail.gmail.com>
To: martin <martin@ics.forth.gr>
Cc: public-esw-thes@w3.org, Thomas Baker <thomasbaker49@googlemail.com>
On Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 2:27 PM, martin <martin@ics.forth.gr> wrote:

> I believe that we are running into a problem if we interpret SKOS:Concept
> too widely, and allow persons and other particulars be regarded as
> SKOS:Concept.
> SKOS:Concept clearly has been designed initially to cover universals, i.e.,
> concepts in the narrower sense, which have "instances" in the real world.
> This is why SKOS:Concept has properties broader/narrower:
> "The word "broader" should read here as "has broader concept"; the subject
> of a skos:broader statement is the more specific concept involved in the
> assertion and its object is the more generic one. "
> This clearly does not apply to persons, events and generally not to all
> "particulars".


> In library classification, persons, such as Shakespeare, may appear as
> subjects. At least the library of congress describes clearly such concepts
> as books talking about "Shakespeare", and not as the person itself. In this
> case, the concept "books about Shakespeare" clearly qualifies as
> SKOS:Concept. Narrower concepts may be "books about Shakespeare's comedies"
> or "Shakespeare biographies". The example demonstrates, that a person as
> literary subject is distinct from identifying the person.
> There is no contradiction to classify a URI for "Shakespeare" as both a
> literary subject(SKOS:Concept) and a real person (foaf:person)). However,
> that does not make every person a subject, and persons behave like a
> subject!


You may be getting confused by the major changes that were made to SKOS in
2008, which altered the semantics of skos:broader.
The initial design of SKOS can be seen at:

One of the  design requirements for SKOS,  R-CompatibilityWithISO2788,
required compatibility with ISO-2788.
Since ISO 2788 and its kin provide for the instantive relationship (BTI)
the notion of skos:Concept *cannot* exclude individuals.

"Subjects" are what "documents" are "about"; if X is "about" Y, Y is a
"subject" and X is a "document".  Subjects are inten*t*ional.  They aren't
about what things are, they are what things are about.

An antelope, in a museum is a document about the subject of antelopes.
An antelope with a tattoo of a frog, in a museum, is an antelope and a
document, and is about the subject of antelopes, and about the subject of
frogs.  It is not a frogelope.
Should this antelope escape, it remains an antelope, but is not a document,
and is not about anything.

Received on Saturday, 28 November 2009 02:24:14 UTC

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