Re: SKOS comment: name "broader" confusing

Hi all,

This is a draft reply to the comment from Daniel Barclay below. Unless
anybody objects, I will send this message on Tuesday next week, and
then close the issue.

--- begin draft message

Dear Daniel,

Thanks you for your comment, which is recorded in the working group's
tracker as [ISSUE-219].

A similar comment was raised previously, and is recorded in the
working group's issue tracker as [ISSUE-82]. Issue 82 was resolved [1]
by adding editorial changes to the documents highlighting the intended
interpretation of broader and narrower.

In particular, the following was added to section 8.1 of the SKOS
Reference [2]:

""" A triple <A> skos:broader <B> asserts that <B>, the object of the
triple, is a broader concept than <A>, the subject of the
triple. Similarly, a triple <C> skos:narrower <D> asserts that <D>,
the object of the triple, is a narrower concept than <C>, the subject
of the triple. """

and the text immediately above example 26 was modified to make clear
the direction of the relationship.

The SKOS Primer [3] also has the following note:

""" Note on skos:broader direction: for historic reasons, the name of
the skos:broader property (the word "broader") does not provide an
explicit indication of its direction. The word "broader" should read
here as "has broader concept"; the subject of a skos:broader statement
is the more specific concept involved in the assertion and its object
is the more generic one. """

While the working group was also concerned with possible confusion
over the direction of relationship, the consensus was against changing
the name of the property, primarily because such a change would not be
compatible with a substantial amount of previously published data.

We hope you are able to live with this resolution.

Kind regards,



On Tue, Apr 07, 2009 at 03:22:23PM -0400, Barclay, Daniel wrote:
> The term skos:broader should be named with something less ambiguous than the
> single word "broader."
> Using just that single word is ambiguous, because statement "A skos:broader B"
> sounds like it means "A is broader than B" just as much (or more, in fact) than
> it sounds like it means "A has broader term B."
> Using just the single work seems extremely likely to be error-prone, as people
> reading or writing SKOS data (and/or tools) to struggle to remember whether
> skos:broader is defined to mean the former or to mean the latter.
> The name should contain something that indicates the direction of the
> relationship (the way "subclassOf" uses the word "of," or something like
> "hasPart" uses the word "has).
> Something like "hasBroaderTerm" would be clear, but presumably is wordier than
> preferred.  If the sense were reversed, "broaderThan" would be shorter and
> just as clear.
> Daniel
> -- 
> (Plain text sometimes corrupted to HTML "courtesy" of Microsoft Exchange.) [F]

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 Friday, 8 May 2009 14:31:56 UTC