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News Release: From Chaos, Order: W3C Standard Helps Organize Knowledge

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2009 12:08:15 -0500
Message-Id: <44283758-E296-4D54-B4C0-2113632517E9@w3.org>
To: w3c-news@w3.org

  W3C issued a press release today:

   From Chaos, Order: W3C Standard Helps Organize Knowledge
   SKOS Connects Diverse Knowledge Organization Systems to Linked Data

The text of the press release (without links) and additional resources  

    http://www.w3.org/ -- 18 August 2009 -- Today W3C announces a new
    standard that builds a bridge between the world of knowledge
    organization systems — including thesauri, classifications, subject
    headings, taxonomies, and folksonomies — and the linked data
    community, bringing benefits to both. Libraries, museums,
    newspapers, government portals, enterprises, social networking
    applications, and other communities that manage large collections of
    books, historical artifacts, news reports, business glossaries, blog
    entries, and other items can now use Simple Knowledge
    Organization System (SKOS) to leverage the power of linked data. As
    different communities with expertise and established vocabularies
    use SKOS to integrate them into the Semantic Web, they increase the
    value of the information for everyone.

SKOS Adapts to the Diversity of Knowledge Organization Systems

    A useful starting point for understanding the role of SKOS is the
    set of subject headings published by the US Library of Congress
    (LOC) for categorizing books, videos, and other library resources.
    These headings can be used to broaden or narrow queries for
    discovering resources. For instance, one can narrow a query about
    books on "Chinese literature" to "Chinese drama," or further still
    to "Chinese children's plays."

    Library of Congress subject headings have evolved within a community
    of practice over a period of decades. By now publishing these
    subject headings in SKOS, the Library of Congress has made them
    available to the linked data community, which benefits from a
    time-tested set of concepts to re-use in their own data. This re-use
    adds value ("the network effect") to the collection. When people all
    over the Web re-use the same LOC concept for "Chinese drama," or a
    concept from some other vocabulary linked to it, this creates many
    new routes to the discovery of information, and increases the
    chances that relevant items will be found. As an example of mapping
    one vocabulary to another, a combined effort from the STITCH,
    TELplus and MACS Projects provides links between LOC concepts and
    RAMEAU, a collection of French subject headings used by the
    Bibliothèque Nationale de France and other institutions.

    SKOS can be used for subject headings but also many other approaches
    to organizing knowledge. Because different communities are
    comfortable with different organization schemes, SKOS is designed to
    port diverse knowledge organization systems to the Web.

    "Active participation from the library and information science
    community in the development of SKOS over the past seven years has
    been key to ensuring that SKOS meets a variety of needs," said
    Thomas Baker, co-chair of the Semantic Web Deployment Working
    Group, which published SKOS. "One goal in creating SKOS was to
    provide new uses for well-established knowledge organization systems
    by providing a bridge to the linked data cloud."

    SKOS is part of the Semantic Web technology stack. Like the Web
    Ontology Language (OWL), SKOS can be used to define vocabularies.
    But the two technologies were designed to meet different needs. SKOS
    is a simple language with just a few features, tuned for sharing and
    linking knowledge organization systems such as thesauri and
    classification schemes. OWL offers a general and powerful framework
    for knowledge representation, where additional "rigor" can afford
    additional benefits (for instance, business rule processing).

More resources:

  W3C Member Testimonials:

  SKOS Primer:

Contact Information
    Ian Jacobs, <ij@w3.org>, +1.718.260.9447

About the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international
    consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the
    public work together to develop Web standards and guidelines
    designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400
    organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by
    the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
    (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for
    Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and
    Keio University in Japan, and has seventeen outreach offices
    worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447
Received on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 17:08:24 UTC

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