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SKOS FAQ Development Area
If you have a question you would like answered, or think would be good for an FAQ, please add it below ...
Q: What exactly is a thesaurus, and what is it good for?
Q: How do I publish a thesaurus on the semantic web?
Q: What's the difference between 'concept-oriented' and 'term-oriented' models of thesaurus structure?
Q: Can I use SKOS Core to publish a glossary?
Q: Can I build a new thesaurus out of bits of someone elses?
Feel free to add to or comment on answers written here, or write your own answers, but please don't delete anything written by somebody else!
Also, this FAQ should cover a relatively broad audience, that may know a lot about thesauri but not much about the semantic web, or vice versa, so bear this in mind when suggesting questions and writing answers.
When adding a new question and answer to this section, make the question a third level heading (e.g.
=== Q: a question ===).
Q: How do I publish a thesaurus on the Semantic Web?
To publish a thesaurus on the semantic web, follow these steps ...
- Generate an RDF description of the thesaurus' content.
- Publish the RDF data on the web.
The first step, 'generating an RDF description of the thesaurus content', means generating a file or set of files that is an RDF-based serialisation of the thesaurus itself. The SKOS-Core RDF schema provides most, if not all of the RDF classes and properties you will need for this task. The SKOS-Core Guide is the best place to start to learn more about this schema. The SKOS-Core Guidelines for Migration provide an in depth guide to generating RDF-based serialisations of existing thesauri, for both standard and non-standard thesauri, and from a number of existing formats (including XML, relational tables).
Re-using an existing schema such as SKOS-Core, rather than designing your own from scratch, is highly recommended, as it promotes interoperability and re-use of data and software tools.
The second step, 'publishing the RDF data on the web', can be done by using any standard HTTP or FTP server to serve the RDF files (as you would with any HTML or XML file), or via a dedicated RDF server such as Joseki or Sesame.
Q: I'm trying to build thinking machines that can read and understand Web pages, and hence absorb all of human knowledge and take over the world. SKOS is all I need, right?
SKOS represents thesaurus-like data structures in an explicit and extensible format. While these structures might be useful resources for researchers engaged in automatic classification, parsing/interpreting unstructured text, Natural Language Processing, etc., SKOS is not expected to solve the difficult problems associated with mapping from a stream of characters to a structure which normalises them into references to uniquely identified 'concepts'. Machine interpretation of human-generated text is related to the general problems of artificial intelligence (eg. common sense reasoning, background knowledge, etc), ie. a known 'very hard problem'. SKOS attempts to address an easier problem space: data sharing amongst thesaurus-based applications. It does not make any grand claims regarding the utility of home-grown or specialist-maintained thesauri in everyday and scientific life, beyond noting that they are widely used and that the lack of a modern, Web-friendly data model and syntax has hampered the exchange and mapping of thesaurus datasets, and their use in Web applications.
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