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SWD SKOS Primer (Draft)

Status of this Document

This is a wiki draft, and is a work in progress. The content of this document may change without warning at any time. This document has no official status whatsoever within any W3C process.

Notice: Public Working Draft (Feb 21) available at


SKOS — Simple Knowledge Organization System — provides a model for expressing the basic structure and content of concept schemes such as thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies, folksonomies, and other types of controlled vocabulary. As an application of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) SKOS allows concepts to be documented, linked and merged with other data, while still being composed, integrated and published on the World Wide Web.

This document is an implementors guide for those who would like to represent their concept scheme using SKOS.

In basic SKOS, conceptual resources (concepts) can be identified using URIs, labelled with strings in one or more natural languages, documented with various types of notes, semantically related to each other in informal hierarchies and association networks, and aggregated into distinct concept schemes.

In advanced SKOS, conceptual resources can be mapped to conceptual resources in other schemes and grouped into labelled or ordered collections. Concept labels can also be related to each other. Finally, the SKOS vocabulary itself can be extended to suit the needs of particular communities of practice.

This document is a companion to the SKOS Reference, which gives the normative reference on SKOS.


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