Alasdair J G Gray
agray at dcs.gla.ac.uk
Tue Feb 12 02:02:03 PST 2008
Ed Shaya wrote:
> Why not add another element "pluralLabel" or just "plural"?
> Alternatively, one can add an attribute as in
> <skos:altLabel number="plural" >Supernovae</skos:altLabel >. More
> information at virtually no cost. There is nothing sacrosanct about
> the SKOS attributes.
I would suggest that we extend the skos:altLabel with our own
pluralLabel which has the properties of the alternative label but is
used to capture the plural form of a term, i.e. pluralLabel would
inherit the properties of the skos:altLabel.
> Did anyone notice the new WD at the W3C "SKOS Reference" placed on Jan
> 25, 2008?
> It describes the OWL Ontology of SKOS. At the end there is a section
> on extending SKOS, but it just has TODO for now.
Yep, been perusing this for a while and adjusting things in the
vocabularies document appropriately.
> Rob Seaman wrote:
>> Alasdair J G Gray wrote:
>>> The above is not quite true, it is all down to our usage. It is
>>> entirely possible to create a vocabulary that has separate concepts
>>> for the singular and plural versions of any given term. It has been
>>> an unwritten assumption that in this work we have been treating them
>>> as somehow "equivalent" and hence using altLabels.
>>> I agree with Ed that each term/concept in a vocabulary should
>>> contain just one preferred label and more importantly one
>>> definition. The whole point of this work is to be able to
>>> distinguish between the multiple meanings of terms.
>> Well, if the only recourse provided is to include separate terms for
>> singular and plural, e.g., for SN and for SNe, then it is certainly
>> preferred to attach them as altLabels to the same concept.
>> The flip side of distinguishing distinct meanings is to reliably NOT
>> distinguish variations of the same meaning... However, I must still
>> believe that the librarians have some way not only of seeing that SN
>> and SNe refer to the same objects (well, subjects), but to go further
>> and perceive the difference in number expressed. Dictionaries will
>> list the plural under the singular's heading, but do provide
>> information to tell the two apart.
>> After all, the definition of "nose" is something like "that unique
>> thing on your face", while the definition (or, at least, crossword
>> clue) for "noses" might be "puntillitas for Hannibal". Which is to
>> say that plural and singular point to distinct definitions in the
>> strictest interpretation. I'm not arguing that we fuss about this -
>> but again, what is the SKOS commenting convention so that our
>> altLabels can be tuned to be responsive to our purposes?
>>> Absolutely. There are no limits on the number of alternative labels.
>>> Of course, the applications that make use of the vocabularies will
>>> have to be wary that the same label can be used for different
>>> concepts and get the user to clarify which of the meanings they
>>> intended. This is why it is so important to have definitions for the
>>> terms as the application would only be able to display the labels
>>> back to the user if the definitions did not exist.
>> Isn't displaying the labels precisely the point, though? A user (or
>> other source) provides a token. That token is not part of the
>> controlled vocabulary, but rather is a label. The label is as likely
>> to be an altLabel as a prefLabel. We can probably assure that the
>> prefLabels are mapped both surjectively and injectively (i.e.,
>> "one-to-one correspondence" or "if and only if", etc.) onto the
>> controlled concepts, but we've convincing demonstrated that we'll
>> never arrange this for the altLabels.
>> Thus there is a dialogue with the user, parroting not the altLabels
>> (and not the definitions), but rather the prefLabels for all matching
>> terms back for the user to select. Perhaps the labels won't be
>> enough, in that case other information about the terms would be
>> available - but not just the definitions (short or long), but the
>> narrower and broader thans, etc. I actually think the latter will be
>> of more utility than the former in further limiting the search. "Do
>> you mean the "Milky Way" that is narrower than "candy bar", or rather
>> the "Milky Way" that is narrower than "spiral galaxy" that is
>> narrower than "galaxy"?
>> (Which, of course, raises the question of denoting proper names, key
>> for the constellation vocabulary, among others :-)
>> But the first scenario is surely to focus altLabels down to
>> prefLabels, right? What else would the definition of "prefLabel" be?
>> - Rob
Dr Alasdair J G Gray
Tel: +44 141 330 6292
Postal: Computing Science,
17 Lilybank Gardens,
University of Glasgow,
G12 8QQ, UK.
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