Re: ISSUE-160: Allowing collections in semantic relationships

Here's a draft response to Doug on ISSUE-160, comments welcome.

--- begin draft message ---

Dear Doug,

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

On Sat, Oct 04, 2008 at 01:54:26PM +0000, SWD Issue Tracker wrote:
> ISSUE-160: Allowing collections in semantic relationships
> Raised by: Antoine Isaac
> On product: All
> Raised by Doug Tudhope in [1]
> While SKOS collections represents best practice in thesaurus construction, many
> prominent existing thesauri (and related KOS) do not follow the SKOS collections
> semantics. Instead, they model guide terms, facet indicators etc as part of a
> hierarchy using standard Broader/Narrower relationships. This creates a problem
> in converting such existing KOS into SKOS. From discussions it appears other
> people have come to a similar judgment in converting such cases to SKOS – being
> reluctant to change the existing structure of a KOS designed by a third party.
> The pragmatic decision is often to create a (nonSKOS) property of a concept, to
> say essentially, ‘NOT_FOR_INDEXING’. This allows a basic distinction to be made
> between a facet indicator (or guide term) and a concept available for indexing.
> Can we consider if something like this could be introduced into SKOS to
> facilitate conversion of many legacy KOS? The primer can always encourage the
> full collections approach as best practice.

The requirement to indicate that some concepts are not intended for
use in indexing was raised in the SKOS Use Cases and Requirements
document [2]. Meeting this requirement was then discussed as
ISSUE-46. The working group resolved to close this requirement because
all matters related to indexing were deemed out of scope for SKOS, and
better treated by vocabularies such as Dublin Core [3] or other third
party vocabularies. We propose to make no change to the SKOS
Reference, can you live with this?

Kind regards,

Personal comment by Alistair: I realise that the treatment of KOS
elements such as guide terms, facet indicators and node labels, and
the choice of whether to use the SKOS collections framework or whether
model as you describe, remains a difficult issue, and requires careful
judgment. However, on a positive note, I was pleased to learn recently
of the very close correspondance between the modeling of node labels
in the BS 8723-5 UML model and the modeling of collections in
SKOS. Nicolas Cochard did an excellent job of illustrating the
alignment between these two models at the ISKO event in July [4,5]. I
hope that extensions to SKOS and best practices based on the new BS
8723-5 data model will help to clear up some of the difficulties here
in the near future.


Alistair Miles
Senior Computing Officer
Image Bioinformatics Research Group
Department of Zoology
The Tinbergen Building
University of Oxford
South Parks Road
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1865 281993

Received on Thursday, 23 October 2008 09:04:20 UTC