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Subject: Re: [tm-pubsubj] Subject identification and ontological commitment : a real-world example


This helped a lot. It's pretty clear to me what you want now:
guidelines for the *use* of published subjects. That is, not for their
publication, but for their use. (Well, I'm not claiming that you say
we shouldn't have guidelines for publication, but that you say we
should also have guidelines for use.)

What we set out to do was to establish guidelines for both (says the
charter), and I am not opposed to doing so, though I believe we
planned to start with publication and only afterwards move on to
guidelines for use.

To me that still makes sense. There is a crying need for guidance on
how to create these things right now, but few people seem to have a
problem with the use, quite possibly because before they can publish
PSIs they can't use them either. :)

* Bernard Vatant
| I don't know if we have to care about any specific language, as long
| as it is able to express things like the following:
| This PSI for subject A declares explicitly that A is an instance of
| the class B, defined by that other PSI for B. If you use this PSI,
| you implicitly agree with that statement, which is a generic part of
| the definition of the subject A, and therefore should not express
| using this PSI something inconsistent with this definition like "A
| is not an instance of B".

I see what you mean. I was arguing for something similar before, and I
am still not convinced that we shouldn't say something like this. I
agree with you that this situation:

| For example if GeoLang publishes PSIs for "Kurdistan" or "Palestine"
| declaring they belong to the class "Country", someone using this PSIs to
| assert that Kurdistan or Palestine are *not* countries is non-conformant to
| the recommended use of GeoLang PSIs.

seems very strange indeed. You use the PSI and then contradict what it
says? That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
| Now, how any application and language will manage to express and
| communicate that semantic commitment is another story, and maybe not
| our business, as long as they can do it : RDF can, XTM can, OWL can,
| and the list is open.

I agree.

(Hey, OWL *is* RDF. It's just an RDF vocabulary. What you just said is
like saying XML can, and so can DocBook.)

| What we can stick to is recommending something like:
| - Definition of a subject in a subject indicator should contain
| assertion of generic properties of the subject, like attributes and
| relationships with other subjects, themselves (the relations and the
| subjects) identified by other PSIs. Those generic properties should
| be reduced to the minimal set needed to define the subject without
| ambiguity. It is recommended that the subject indicator provides
| accurate and explicit indications concerning those properties. Use
| of a PSI entails from its user a commitment to use it in conformance
| with those indications.

Maybe. I'm not sure about this.

| - A recommended practice is for publishers to deliver sets of PSIs
| where those properties are declared using a formal and consistent
| ontological schema : classification, thesaurus, formal ontology, in
| any relevant standard format.

This sounds fine to me.
| You know well I need someone like you to help me stick to a finite
| set of questions.


| Nevertheless, my answer here hopefully contains concrete proposals
| for future deliverables.

It certainly does, and I'm generally happy with what you say. I do
feel that we should perhaps start by taking a few paces backwards and
try to get an overview of what we want to achieve before we dive into
specific issues. But I do think we should look carefully at this once
we are ready for the specific issues.

What I'd like to know right now is: what is the next deliverable? What
is it going to contain? Can anyone tell me? If not, how do we find

Lars Marius Garshol, Ontopian         <URL: http://www.ontopia.net >
GSM: +47 98 21 55 50                  <URL: http://www.garshol.priv.no >

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