W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-swd-wg@w3.org > February 2009

Re: Differences between SKOS and ISO standards : transitivity

From: Alistair Miles <alistair.miles@zoo.ox.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 11:00:40 +0000
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Cc: Simon Spero <ses@unc.edu>, Leonard Will <L.Will@willpowerinfo.co.uk>, Barbara Tillett <btil@loc.gov>, "Martha M. Yee" <marthamyee@sbcglobal.net>, "Allyson Carlyle (work)" <acarlyle@u.washington.edu>, Jane Greenberg <janeg@email.unc.edu>, "public-esw-thes@w3.org" <public-esw-thes@w3.org>, public-swd-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20090219110038.GA9156@skiathos>
On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 09:11:07PM +0100, Dan Brickley wrote:
> I'd much rather say that a SKOS "butterflies" concept is a social and  
> technological artifact designed to help interconnect descriptions of  
> butterflies, documents (and data) about butterflies, and people with  
> interest or expertise relating to butterflies. I'm quite consciously  
> avoiding saying what a "butterflies" concept in SKOS "refers to",  
> because theories of reference are hard to choose between. Instead, I  
> prefer to talk about why we bother building SKOS and what we hope can be  
> achieved by it.

Yes, I like this pragmatic view a lot.

> I don't believe a SKOS concept for "butterfly" (or "butterflies" or  
> "Lepidoptera") is usefully described as literally referring to "the set  
> of all documents about ..." those things. Nor to "the set of all users  
> interested in ... those things". Nor "the set of all things that are  
> butterflies". There are problems with taking any of those too literally.  
> For me, the key value in the Svenonius quote is not that it tells us  
> what these things refer to, but that it reminds us that we're in the  
> business of connecting people with information. I can live quite happily  
> without there being any story about what some SKOS concept refers  
> directly to, so long as we emphasise its various named associations with  
> documents and their topics; with user interests, needs and expertise,  
> and also (hello, OWL...) with more formal descriptions of the world.

Very nicely put. 



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, 19 February 2009 11:01:41 UTC

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