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Re: [VM,ALL] Revised VM Task Force description

From: Jeremy Carroll <jjc@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 16:04:09 +0100
Message-ID: <40DAED69.3020001@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
To: Thomas Baker <thomas.baker@izb.fraunhofer.de>
Cc: SW Best Practices <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>


A spelling error: stabile => stable

More substantively I am concerned that the description preempts the work 
of the TF and the review process by providing too many answers, or 
examples of answers.

This can be addressed in two ways:

- my preference
   Delete the long lists from points 1, 2, 3 and 4
   Move them to a separate document, e.g. an e-mail, say the one this is 
replying to, and reference them by:
   "Examples of the sort of things to be considered under 1, 2, 3 and 4 
can be found in:
The TF may work on these or other similar matters."

- alternatively minor wording changes to emphasis that the lng lists are 
informative examples to clarify the TF scope rather than a constraint on 
the sort of answers the TF may produce. (To indicate a substantive 
issue, I am not clear I agree with the proposed approach to namespace 
ownership, cf Patel-Schneider and Parsia's work on social meaning, 
presented as a poster at WWW2004)

I provide such rewording in-line below. (My rewording is perhaps 
excessively weasely)


> SWBPD "Vocabulary Management" Task Force Description
> Draft, 2004-06-24
> NAME          
>     Vocabulary Management
> STATUS        
>     Considered
>     Tom Baker and ?
>     Libby Miller
>     Natasha Noy
>     Dan Brickley 
>     Alistair Miles
>     Alan Rector
>     James Hendler
>     Aldo Gangemi
>     Bernard Vatant
>     Ralph Swick
> 1. To establish the terminology for our discussion of the
>    declaration, identification, use, and management of
>    vocabulary terms in a Semantic Web environment -- something
>    roughly along the lines of:
>    -- Term
>    -- Vocabulary (a set of Terms)
>    -- Namespace (hmm...)
>    -- Namespace URI (identifies a Namespace)
>    -- Namespace Owner (controls a Namespace)
>    -- Language (uses and mixes Vocabularies)
>    -- Versioning (identification of changes to a Language)
>    -- Term Concept (notional)
>    -- Term URI (identifies a Term Concept)
>    -- Term Annotation (a representation of or gloss on a Term Concept)
>    -- Term Version (an identifiable state of a cluster of Term Annotations)
>    -- Term Version URI (identifies a Term Version)
>    -- Term Declaration (represents a term in a machine-processable schema 
>       language)
>    -- Namespace Document (definitive material about a Namespace)
>    -- Namespace Schema (definitive material about a Namespace in a 
>       machine-processable schema language).
> 2. To articulate assumptions regarding the use of terms in 
>    a Semantic Web environment, including:
  possibly including but not limited to the following
  putative examples:

>    -- Open, loosely-coupled, mixed-language environments
>       ("the Web").
>    -- Organizations or even individuals defining and publishing
>       vocabulary terms in an open, bottom-up, and distributed
>       process (as both desirable and de-facto).
>    -- The need to support processes of referencing,
>       repurposing, recombining, merging data from a diversity
>       of sources.
>    -- The need to support the inevitable evolution of languages
>       ("evolvability").
>    -- The Must Ignore Principle: "If you find a language element 
>       you don't understand, ignore it" (e.g., IETF practice, 
>       Tim Berners-Lee, TAG Finding on Versioning).
>    -- The Principle of Free Extension: "Allow extensibility:
>       language designers should create extensible languages"
>       (TAG Finding on Versioning).  Languages are extensible
>       if they can mix Vocabularies.
>    -- An emerging infrastructure (keyword "registries") for 
>       holding or harvesting Vocabularies for display, search, 
>       tool configuration, inferencing, or other such services.  
> 3. To articulate guidelines of good practice for Namespace
>    Owners to identify and declare Terms and Term Sets (Vocabularies)
>    for use in a Semantic Web environment.  Something like:

possibly including but not limited to the following
  putative examples:

>    -- Identify Terms using URIs.
>    -- Term URIs should remain stabile within the limits of
>       "semantically compatible" change and evolution of the
>       Terms identified (where "semantically compatible"
>       is defined with respect to backwards and forward
>       compatibility, as in the TAG Finding on Versioning).
>    -- Associate URI-identified Terms with human-interpretable
>       Term Annotations -- usually, at a minimum, with text
>       defining the Term.
>    -- Consider associating the URI-identified Terms with
>       machine-processable Term Declarations in Namespace
>       Schemas.
>    -- Optionally, identify Term Versions using URIs.
>       Follow (by analogy) the W3C method of distinguishing
>       the timeless "Latest Version" from the date-stamped
>       "This Version" and "Previous Version" (is this method
>       formally described anywhere?).
>    -- The Namespace Owner should describe and publish a
>       description of the terms identified by URIs and of
>       policies governing their maintenance, e.g.: expectations
>       about persistence, institutional commitment, and
>       semantic stability.
>    -- Only a Namespace Owner should change the meaning of a Term 
>       in a namespace (though non-owners may constrain meanings in
>       semantically compatible ways for use in specific contexts).
>    -- When making assertions about terms belonging to another 
>       Namespace Owner, consider seeking their endorsement of 
>       those assertions ("assertion etiquette" or "good neighbor" 
>       policies).
>    -- Version Namespace Documents and Namespace Schemas the way
>       W3C versions documents and schemas.
> 4. To point to and briefly summarize ongoing the evolving
>    diversity of practices and approaches to declaring and
>    managing vocabularies.  The following problems should each
>    be discussed in one page or less:
This will be structured by addressing a list of problems
each in one page or less. The list of problems
may include but is not limited to the following
  putative examples:

>     -- The problem of resolving (dereferencing) Term URIs.
>        URI-identified Terms should be associated with or
>        resolve to what sort of human-interpretable Term
>        Annotations or machine-processable Term Declarations?
>        The VM note should summarize the state of discussion
>        about whether a URI resolves to anything at all, and if
>        so, whether to a Web page, a machine-processable schema
>        (of whatever flavor), or a resource directory, pointing
>        to examples in practice.  If Terms are documented in
>        multiple ways, should a Namespace Owner distinguish
>        between "canonical" versus "derived" sources?
>     -- The problem of work-flow and tools for documenting
>        Terms.  The VM note should point to tools and methods
>        for maintaining multiple documentation forms, such as
>        schemas and Web pages.
>     -- The problem of finding versus becoming a Namespace
>        Owner.  People want to know: "If we want to declare
>        a term but lack the institutional context to support
>        a persistent namespace policy, how can we do it?
>        Should I use an existing term, get a Namespace Owner
>        (such as DCMI) to declare one, or declare my own?
>        If I were to coin my own URI, where could I put it?"
>     -- The problem of describing Terms. What are the properties
>        of a Term Annotation or Term Declaration?  Besides
>        a Definition, what are some of the properties
>        more commonly in use?  How important is it for
>        interoperability to use existing properties in Term
>        Annotations or Term Declarations?
>     -- The schema language of a Term Declaration: The
>        VM note should not take a stand on the use of
>        a particular flavor of OWL/RDF+S for declaring a
>        vocabulary but should simply point to documents
>        which focus on this issue.
>     -- The formation of URIs.  The issues here include
>        "hash or slash", the implied semantics of language
>        strings and of implied directory hierarchies in URIs,
>        and the use of version numbers in URI strings.
>     -- Application profiles.  Most vocabulary initiatives
>        end up having some notion of "profile" to designate
>        either a constrained subset of a vocabulary and/or
>        a language which mixes multiple vocabularies for
>        a particular purpose or application.  The VM note
>        should characterize the nature of these constructs,
>        possibly referring to notions such as Term Usage (a
>        cluster of Term Annotations about a Term of which one
>        is not the Namespace Owner).
>     -- The problem of "semantic context".  Terms may be
>        embedded in clusters of relations from which they
>        may be seen in part to derive their meaning.  It may
>        therefore not always be sensible to use those terms out
>        of context.  Examples include the terms of thesauri
>        or ontologies, as well as XML elements, which may
>        be defined with respect to parent elements and may
>        therefore not always be reusable as properties in an
>        RDF sense without violating their semantic intent.
>     The issues above have been discussed and documented in
>     various vocabulary maintenance communities.  The Task
>     Force deliverable will provide an overview of the issues
>     and principles involved in declaring and maintaining
>     a vocabulary, pointing to available examples of good
>     practice.  In order to do this, it must first define
>     a common terminology for describing the diversity of
>     practices in a comparable manner.
>     Guidelines and principles for the identification,
>     declaration, and management of Terms in Vocabularies
>     (Metadata Element Sets, Thesauri, Ontologies, Published
>     Subjects, and the like).
>     A relatively concise (fifteen-page?) technical note
>     summarizing principles of good practice, with pointers to
>     examples, about the identification of terms and term sets
>     with URIs, related policies and etiquette, and expectations
>     regarding documentation.
>     -- Maintainers of terms and term sets (vocabularies)
>        for use in a Semantic Web environment.
>     -- Anyone else wishing to declare terms reusably.
> DEPENDENCIES (in the broadest sense)
>     -- THES - SWBP Thesaurus Task Force
>        http://www.w3.org/2004/03/thes-tf/mission
>     -- FOAF
>        http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/
>        http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe/events/foaf-galway/
>     -- Dublin Core - DCMI, for example:
>        http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-namespace/
>        http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-terms/
>     -- Dublin Core - CEN MMI-DC Working Group
>        http://www.bi.fhg.de/People/Thomas.Baker/Versioning-20040611.txt
>        http://www.cenorm.be/isss/cwa14855/
>     -- Proposed TAG Finding on Versioning XML Languages
>        http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/versioning/
>     -- SKOS - SWAD Europe
>        http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe/reports/thes/1.0/guide/
>        http://www.w3.org/2004/skos/core.rdf
>        http://www.w3c.rl.ac.uk/2003/11/21-skos-mapping
>     -- W3C TAG on "What should a 'namespace document' look like?
>        http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/issues.html#namespaceDocument-8
>     -- SWAD-E Thesaurus (wants "standard" thesaurus change management guidelines)
>        http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-esw-thes/2004Apr/
>     -- Image Annotation meeting in Madrid
>        http://rdfig.xmlhack.com/2004/06/07/2004-06-07.html#1086615887.400193
>     -- Tim Berners-Lee on Evolvability
>        http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Evolution.html
>     -- OASIS Published Subjects Technical Committee
>        http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/3050/pubsubj-pt1-1.02-cs.pdf
>        http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=tm-pubsubj
>        http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tm-pubsubj/docs/recommendations/issues.htm
>     -- OASIS (ISO/TS 15000) ebXMLRegistry Semantic Content (Carl Mattocks)
>     -- Libby and Dan work on RDF query
>        http://www.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/discovery/2001/06/process/
>     -- Sandro's work on a vocabulary directory (reference needed)
>     -- Alan: experience in medical contexts with large vocabularies
>     -- Alistair: recommendations for change management
>     -- CORES Resolution on Metadata Element Identifiers
>        http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july03/baker/07baker.html
Received on Thursday, 24 June 2004 11:05:20 UTC

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