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Re: Best practices: representing homonym relationships in SKOS

From: Simon Spero <ses@unc.edu>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 2009 14:49:22 -0500
Message-ID: <1af06bde0911141149k270ca587r146b3e9e2eacbc2f@mail.gmail.com>
To: Thomas Bandholtz <thomas.bandholtz@innoq.com>
Cc: Bradley Allen <bradley.p.allen@gmail.com>, public-esw-thes@w3.org, karl+w3c@la-grange.net, public-lod@w3.org
On Sat, Nov 14, 2009 at 2:10 PM, Thomas Bandholtz <
thomas.bandholtz@innoq.com> wrote:

> One example:
> "bass [fish]" and "bass [music]", which are about "bass" as a homograph
> (not a homophone).
> You see I used some kind of "qualifier" to distinguish the two meanings.
> This is a common practise, not a standard.

It is standard; however, qualifiers are enclosed in parentheses, not square

Quoting Z39.19<http://www.niso.org/kst/reports/standards/kfile_download?id%3Austring%3Aiso-8859-1=Z39-19-2005.pdf&pt=RkGKiXzW643YeUaYUqZ1BFwDhIG4-24RJbcZBWg8uE4vWdpZsJDs4RjLz0t90_d5_ymGsj_IKVa86hjP37r_hONsJghRDv2N-zj4TZCh8Dp01rZbmK3O-8vcVjh4hezP>(NISO)

6.2.1 Homographs
The use of homographs as terms in a controlled vocabulary sometimes requires
clarification of their meaning through a qualifier (a "gloss" in linguistic
terminology). Such a gloss specifies the domain of meaning to which the term
belongs. A qualifier is a word or words used with a term to make the
specific meaning unambiguous. The qualifier, which is enclosed in
parentheses, is part of the term. Use of qualifiers should be avoided
whenever possible because of the problems that parentheticals can cause in
filing and in retrieval. See section 9.2.6 for more on filing and sorting.

Rules for using qualifiers:
a) A compound term should be used instead of a single-word term with a
parenthetical qualifier, if usage permits, i.e., if the compound occurs in
natural language.
Example 7: Compound terms rather than qualifiers
phonograph records rather than records (phonograph)
religious tolerance rather than tolerance (religion)
NOTE: In both of these examples, compound terms are natural expressions that
can be selected for
controlled vocabularies in the fields of music and religion, respectively.

b) A qualifier should be added to each homograph, even when one is used in
the primary sense of the domain and the second in a different sense. For
example, cranes (lifting
equipment) should be the term in an engineering controlled vocabulary that
also includes cranes (birds).

c) A homograph's parenthetical qualifier may be left out when a term is used
in only one of its meanings within a given controlled vocabulary domain and
the meaning is obvious to users within that domain. However, if the
vocabulary will be used across domains, e.g. in a multidisciplinary
retrieval system, the qualifier should be included as it facilitates cross-
database searching and mapping of terms in disparate domains.
Example 8: Qualifiers indicating domain
developing (photography)
organism (philosophy)
translation (genetics)
d) Parenthetical qualifiers should not be used to represent compound
concepts, e.g., cookery (zucchini) or pipes (plastic). Plastic is used in
the latter example to indicate a type of pipe rather than to disambiguate
the word "pipe". Appropriate uses of qualifiers with the term pipes would
be: pipes (musical instruments) and pipes (smoking implements). (See section
7 for guidelines on formulating compound terms.)

e) The qualifier itself may be a term, often a broader term than the one
being qualified. It should be as brief as possible, ideally consisting of
one word, but should not be a

f) Qualifiers should be standardized within a given controlled vocabulary to
the extent possible, e.g., biology and bioscience should not both be used as

g) A qualifier is not a scope note. However, a qualified term may have a
scope note appended to it. For guidelines on scope notes, see section

h) Qualifiers should also be added to entry terms when their meaning is

Example 9: Qualifiers to distinguish ambiguous homographs
cranes (birds)
cranes (lifting equipment)

mercury (metal)
Mercury (planet)
Mercury (Roman deity)

seals (animals)
seals (law)
seals (numismatics)

socialization (economics)
socialization (social psychology)
Received on Saturday, 14 November 2009 19:49:57 UTC

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