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ISSUE-178: Last Call Comment: PFWG: Semantic Relations

From: Alistair Miles <alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 09:40:49 +0000
To: Al Gilman <Alfred.S.Gilman@IEEE.org>
Cc: public-swd-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20081106094049.GQ12933@skiathos>

Dear Al,

Thank you for your detailed and helpful comments. In response to the
comment below:

On Wed, Oct 08, 2008 at 09:52:20AM +0000, SWD Issue Tracker wrote:
> ISSUE-178: Last Call Comment: PFWG: Semantic Relations
> http://www.w3.org/2006/07/SWD/track/issues/178
> Raised by: Alistair Miles
> On product: SKOS
> Raised by Al Gilman on behalf of PFWG in [1]:
> """
> Re: Section 8: Semantic Relations
> We understand that SKOS has been devised to be universally applicable  
> to various types of knowledge organization systems, many of which do  
> not have semantically clear-cut relations, but are rather inaccurate  
> in their meaning.  However, there are use cases that would benefit  
> from a stricter and richer definition of vocabulary for concept schemes.
> For example, the properties for hierarchical relationship  
> (skos:broader, skos:narrower) are specified to indicate that ‘one  
> [concept] is in some way more general ("broader") than the other  
> ("narrower")’.  The primer [2] even mentions the subjectivity of  
> these properties: “skos:broader and skos:narrower enable the  
> representation of hierarchical links, such as the relationship  
> between one genre and its more specific species , or, depending on  
> interpretations, the relationship between one whole and its parts.”   
> Obviously, one can create custom-defined subproperties, but  
> interoperability is much harder to achieve with custom-defined  
> subproperties than with pre-defined properties that are part of the  
> SKOS core.
> At a minimum, it would be helpful to have separate pairs of SKOS core  
> properties defined for inheritance relationships (superclass- 
> subclass) vs. structural relationships (whole-part).  These would be  
> subproperties of skos:broader and skos:narrower.  So the user would  
> have the choice between the (inaccurate) super-properties or the  
> (semantically clearer) subproperties.
> """

The working group has considered including such extensions to
skos:broader and skos:narrower within the SKOS data model. This was
discussed as ISSUE-56. In May the WG resolved to postpone this issue
[2], because we do not yet have sufficient information on how to embed
the specialisations in the current SKOS model. The view was that
further work, in particular on patterns and conventions for using SKOS
and OWL in combination, was required before a standard set of
extensions could be proposed.

We encourage the development and publication of third-party extensions
to the SKOS data model within the community of practice. The SKOS
Reference (section 8.6.3) and the SKOS Primer (section 4.7) provide
information and examples of how to do this.

Can you live with the postponement of this issue?

Kind regards,


[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-swd-wg/2008Oct/0063.html
[ISSUE-56] http://www.w3.org/2006/07/SWD/track/issues/56 
[2] http://www.w3.org/2008/05/07-swd-minutes.html#item02

Alistair Miles
Senior Computing Officer
Image Bioinformatics Research Group
Department of Zoology
The Tinbergen Building
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
United Kingdom
Web: http://purl.org/net/aliman
Email: alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 281993
Received on Thursday, 6 November 2008 09:41:29 UTC

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