Re: Open Library and RDF

On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 03:08:10PM +0200, Antoine Isaac wrote:
> In particular, for the FRBR case, I'd favor asserting explicitly that W, E, 
> M and I are disjoint--if that's what is intended by the designers of the 
> model. Let's not forget that "No commitment" is also an enemy of minimal 
> commitment. Given the genericity of FRBR's classes, formal hints can be of 
> great use for users to understand the model. And indeed it makes a great 
> difference whether WEMI are disjoint or not.
> Also, if people want to use constructs at their face value in a AAA fashion 
> [1], well, let's allow them to do so. But I don't see why this would be at 
> the expanse of others' ability to sort out what commits to the model as 
> agreed by the community from what does not make that commitment. These who 
> don't want to commit are still free then *not* to "apply" the ontology's 
> formal semantics.

I'm not sure I follow your point.  If WEMI are formally
declared as disjoint, then someone may well choose simply
to ignore this (as Dan points out they may), but the formal
semantics would not go away and would come into play if a
reasoner were invoked.  On the other hand, if WEMI were merely
declared as disjoint in prose, as a less formal "hint", the
intended disjointedness could still be expressed in guidelines
and application profiles and inform the creation of good,
FRBR-conformant metadata.

When I hear there is disagreement among specialist communities
about the interpretation of FRBR, I wonder if even the experts
may want to associate a given resource with a different WEMI
class, and how dire the consequences should be if they did?
Can one live with resource A being declared here as an
Expression and there as a Manifestation, or should this trigger
loud alarms?  If so, might dissenters from the official FRBR
line want to break off and create their own expression of FRBR?
Then there is the question of how to link the more heavily
specified ontology to more generic models followed outside
the library world, as with the layered approach alluded to
by Karen.

> In the alternative case (i.e., if no formal semantics specified in the 
> first place) then the first category (the ones who agree on the original 
> model) will never be "free" to apply them. So we have not much choice if we 
> want both sides to leave their own life.

But is it so black and white?  Does disjointness (for
example) need to be declared formally in order to be applied
in practice?


Tom Baker <>

Received on Monday, 16 August 2010 19:28:10 UTC