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Re: ISSUE-26: SimpleExtension proposal

From: Daniel Rubin <rubin@med.stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 05:39:31 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Antoine Isaac <aisaac@few.vu.nl>
Cc: Guus Schreiber <schreiber@cs.vu.nl>,SWD WG <public-swd-wg@w3.org>

At 12:50 AM 5/30/2007, Antoine Isaac wrote:

>Hi Daniel,
>>>>>1. Vocabulary
>>>>>The proposal introduces the following new vocabulary:
>>>>>  skos:Term
>>>>Can we get the English definition of a skos:Term?
>>>>Also, in terms of naming "Term," this is find if SKOS restricts 
>>>>itself to modeling thesauri, but for people who are creating 
>>>>ontologies to represent things in reality, "entity" would be 
>>>>better than "term". In my biomedical use cases, I have examples of this.
>>>I think we might have a problem here. The idea is just to create 
>>>links between labels associated to concepts, not between all the 
>>>things that are in the world.
>>>Could you give us one of your examples?
>>In the RadLex use case, for example, "terms" are entities in 
>>reality, such as blood vessels. These are linked together via 
>>relations such as "part-of" and "continuous-with".  It would be 
>>better for these things to be called "Entity" instead of "Term".  I 
>>think "Entity" would be consistent with terms and things in reality.
>I think your "entity" proposal, I fear this is too 
>ontology-oriented. SKOS exists to model knowledge organization 
>schemes, as very specific intellectual constructs made of concepts 
>(i.e. instances of skos:Concept), not entities in the world 
>themselves. For this real world things, ontologies should be used, 
>containing instances of owl:Class or rdfs:Class (notice that OWL 
>features an owl:Thing that pretty much corresponds to the class of 
>your "entities").

I thought the goal of SKOS is to "provide a standard way to represent 
knowledge organization systems." Ontologies certainly fall under that 
umbrella. Some of the SKOS model is certainly very relevant to people 
building ontologies.

>  I think in the original SKOS documents there was a schema 
> somewhere explaining this difference and the 'level of indirection' 
> thingy. Alistair, was such thing availabel somewhere?
>Then comes the term/concept problem. If you assume that you want to 
>build a representation of a the RadLex KOS, the relations you 
>mention ("part-of") really look like conceptual relations. Are you 
>sure this is not a case where "terms" should be represented by 
>instances of skos:Concept (as it would also be the case for many 
>term-based thesauri that do not use explicit "concepts")? When I 
>look at the Radlex description on the wiki, it seems indeed the 
>"terms" there shall be skos:Concepts, and the links between them 
>should be pecializations of skos:broader or skos:related, which are 
>conceptual ("semantic") relations.

Are you saying that skos:Concept is equivalent to "entity" (things 
that exist in reality)? The basic point I am making is that some 
communities have a need to managing thesauri, and others have need 
for managing terms that talk about entities that exist in reality. 
Those entities do certainly have terms that name them.

>This is actually another point for not introducing "term" in SKOS, 
>but something else, with much less "conceptual" load, like it was 
>for "label". It would be too confusing, otherwise, with half  (or 
>even more) of the existing thesauri assuming a "term-based" approach.

I think I need to understand better exactly *what* SKOS is 
describing--names of things? The things themselves? Both? Something 
else?  To me, "term" is the name for something. "Concept" is 
something that is someone's head. "Entity" is something that exists 
in reality. There are certainly communities who need to describe 
things, names of things, and both (in the case of RadLex). Ideally, 
SKOS should be able to be useful to these communities.

>Do you see my point(s), Daniel? And do you think the 
>"lexicalization" I've proposed in another mail to replace "term" 
>(making it closer to the intuition behind "label") would make things 
>less ambiguous?

I don't recall what you want to replace "term" with.

Received on Wednesday, 30 May 2007 12:39:41 UTC

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