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Re: Should we adopt SKOS?

From: Mike Bergman <mike@mkbergman.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 22:50:25 -0600
Message-ID: <50EF9A11.9040200@mkbergman.com>
To: public-vocabs@w3.org
Hi All,

I have a recommendation on the SKOS issue, if you will bear with me, but 
the length of this inherited thread and its esoterica, I think, affirm 
two observations:

1) since the Good Relations adoption, there is a desire (precedent) to 
want to find additional vocabularies that can be sanctioned by 
schema.org's market position

2) schema.org risks becoming the new forum for all sorts of semantic 
folly and discussion.

I think both of these are a mistake.

As for 1), I can appreciate that Martin has worked the system well 
enough to get his vocabulary accepted. It is a good vocabulary, and 
Martin is a diligent advocate. But, frankly, I don't think this is a 
model we want to see perpetuated. There are multiple realms that 
conceivably deal with important dimensions of the "schema" scope; do we 
seriously think it is the role of this forum to find those encompassing 

Vocabulary acceptance is ultimately, I think, a market position, and not 
any role or responsibility of schema.org.

The *sponsors* of schema.org, however, do have what amounts to much 
market clout. If they like something, they will adopt it; if not, they 
won't. The choices they make as players in making schema.org stuff 
prominent or not will (in part) determine their own market performance. 
I accept this, and whatever this forum does, it has no ultimate bearing 
on these sponsors' market decisions. This forum is not the W3C (and even 
the W3C making such determinations has little bearing on this market).

I also firmly believe that vocabulary extensions from concepts to 
products to whatever should be accommodated for within a schema.org 
framework. My issue is solely whether any single extension warrants 
sanction. Extension mechanisms, yes; specific vocabularies, no.

As for 2), I think that is just a natural outcome of looking to 
schema.org as some kind of "answer" to what used to be known as the 
"chicken-and-egg dilemma" for the semantic Web. The best thing about 
schema.org is that it is a pragmatic forum to discuss prominent types of 
things and their attributes.

My advice is to try to keep schema.org as a relatively pure location for 
important value:pair discussions. We'll get to the big stuff -- and 
perhaps even schema.org will be in part one vehicle for doing so -- 
by-and-by, but this is a forum for *market importance* not theory.

As for the SKOS stuff, we (Structured Dynamics) use it much. But the 
premise of the adoption into schema.org fits into that same 
dysfunctionality I noted above: trying to make schema.org an umbrella 
for sanctioned subsidiary vocabularies. I believe this to be a Bad Idea.

My simple suggestion is to move "about" to become a property of Thing 
and not CreativeWorks (which, after reflection, is a placement that is 
silly). Then, with an extension mechanism that recognizes an external 
namespace (say, gr: or umbel: or dc:) enable that (or perhaps, many 
other schema: properties) to extend the umbrella.

As for SKOS, I think it is generally orthogonal to a schema.org 
specification. Like any vocabulary on the Web, map to the concepts that 
make sense for you. If "about" with namespace recognition were added to 
schema.org, there would be no further questions about what to do with 
SKOS or any other Web vocabulary.

	schema.org != semantic web

Thanks, Mike


Michael K. Bergman
CEO  Structured Dynamics LLC
Received on Friday, 11 January 2013 04:50:54 UTC

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