goals, background, etc.

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bda...@gmail.com

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Apr 14, 2007, 6:18:22 PM4/14/07
to Bibliographic Ontology Specification Group
Thanks to Fred for getting things moving. I'll post some background
information now, since I'll away all next week, and because I've been
working on this problem for awhile.

First, about me: I am a publishing scholar who works in human
geography, at the border of the social sciences, humanties, and with
rather eclectic interests in cultural politics and media, law, and
politics.

This is important to keep in mind, because I have quite practical
reasons for having a history of being really frustrated with
bibliographic tools and data models. You can read my blog [1] archives
to get more on this, but the short version is that most existing
formats for citation data are produced by and for people from the hard
sciences, who typically only cite secondary data: primarily articles,
conference papers, and so forth.

In the humanities, law and social sciences, however, needs are much
more demanding, in part because we often cite primary data (speeches,
archival documents, press releases, etc) or funky things like
republished and translated books, and so forth. Put simply, I often
find myself not being able to represent my data in applications.

The work I have been doing on the biblio ontology [2] is my attempt to
solve these frustrations. I think it is pretty far along, even if
while I consider myself an expert in bibliographic data needs for
scholars (with a good understanding of library perspectives as well),
I am not exactly an expert in RDF. Still I have had help from people
who are (Ian Davis, Leigh Dodds, Dan Brickley, etc.).

Finally, I am also co-project lead for the OpenOffice bibliographic
project, and a primary member of the OpenDocument metadata
subcommittee, where I have been working for the past year or so (with
people like Elias Torres) on bringing RDF support to ODF so that
citation support can make use of it.

I have also put a lot of work into figuring out how to format
citations for publication, which is very, very important for scholars.
In fact, I formatted my recent book using this sytem.

The goals reflected my work on the ontology thusfar are:

1) should be a superset of legacy formats like BibTeX, RIS, and so
forth

2) must support the most demanding needs in the social sciences,
humanities, and law (though the last may get a bit beyond scope, since
it's another world of sorts), and those who deal with non-Western
languages

3) the class system must be able to map to the type system in the
citation style language I designed [3]. In short, it is not enough to
just encode the data: it needs to be able to be formatted according to
the often archaic details of citation styles

4) should be developer-friendly; I consider examples like DOAP and
SKOS to be models here

Behind all of these goals are a more concrete goal: it should be
perfect for using in OpenDocument/OpenOffice citation support.

Non-goals

1) suporting (in the sense of say, lossless mapping to) library
conventions as represented in MARC

Primary intended users are scholars, researchers, students, and so
forth. However, certainly it can and should be easily useable for the
sort of data provide by book sellers, libraries and so forth.

The ontology in my SVN [4] is much more comprehensive than what is
published. Primary issues I was seeing are:

i. the classes (need to settle them and their mapping to the CSL style
conventions)
ii.contributor modeling (a complicated problem because of the
signicance of order in bibliographic references, though I think I know
how to solve it)

Recent experiements are looking better to me [5].

Sorry for the brain-dump, but it ought to give people plenty to chew
on while I'm gone ;-)

Bruce

[1] <http://netapps.muohio.edu/blogs/darcusb/darcusb/>; see in
particular <http://netapps.muohio.edu/blogs/darcusb/darcusb/archives/
2005/07/24/the-semantic-web-rdf-and-scholarly-metadata>
[2] <http://xbiblio.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/xbiblio/biblio-schema/>
[3] <http://xbiblio.sourceforge.net/csl/>
[4] <http://xbiblio.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/xbiblio/biblio-schema/
sbo.n3?view=markup>
[5] <http://xbiblio.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/xbiblio/biblio-schema/
alt-examples.n3?view=markup>

bda...@gmail.com

unread,
Apr 14, 2007, 6:36:56 PM4/14/07
to Bibliographic Ontology Specification Group
Oh, another requirement: has to work for Zotero, which supports notes,
annotations, user collections, tagging, and no doubt workgroups at
some point.

Bruce

Frederick Giasson

unread,
Apr 15, 2007, 11:30:42 AM4/15/07
to bibliographic-ontolog...@googlegroups.com
Hi Bruce!

> Thanks to Fred for getting things moving. I'll post some background
> information now, since I'll away all next week, and because I've been
> working on this problem for awhile.
>
Perfect, this is exactly what I was looking for.

> First, about me: I am a publishing scholar who works in human
> geography, at the border of the social sciences, humanties, and with
> rather eclectic interests in cultural politics and media, law, and
> politics.
>
> This is important to keep in mind, because I have quite practical
> reasons for having a history of being really frustrated with
> bibliographic tools and data models. You can read my blog [1] archives
> to get more on this, but the short version is that most existing
> formats for citation data are produced by and for people from the hard
> sciences, who typically only cite secondary data: primarily articles,
> conference papers, and so forth.
>

Good, so there are motivations :)

> In the humanities, law and social sciences, however, needs are much
> more demanding, in part because we often cite primary data (speeches,
> archival documents, press releases, etc) or funky things like
> republished and translated books, and so forth. Put simply, I often
> find myself not being able to represent my data in applications.
>

This is why I am proposing the same approach as we did with the music
ontology: multi-expressiveness-levels.

Anyway, if you have the time, take a look at the music ontology, there
are many similarities between the two ontologies (not the same domain,
but many similar concepts, same problems and issues, same sort of goals
and users, etc.)


> The work I have been doing on the biblio ontology [2] is my attempt to
> solve these frustrations. I think it is pretty far along, even if
> while I consider myself an expert in bibliographic data needs for
> scholars (with a good understanding of library perspectives as well),
> I am not exactly an expert in RDF. Still I have had help from people
> who are (Ian Davis, Leigh Dodds, Dan Brickley, etc.).
>

This is the power of a group or a community: using the strength of everyone!


> Finally, I am also co-project lead for the OpenOffice bibliographic
> project, and a primary member of the OpenDocument metadata
> subcommittee, where I have been working for the past year or so (with
> people like Elias Torres) on bringing RDF support to ODF so that
> citation support can make use of it.
>

Fantastic, it will be a great test case for the ontology.


> 2) must support the most demanding needs in the social sciences,
> humanities, and law (though the last may get a bit beyond scope, since
> it's another world of sorts), and those who deal with non-Western
> languages
>

Well, this is why a modular approach should be use. That way, if the
ontology is well done, we will be able to easily plug extension modules
to describe more precision and complexe things like the law things. We
shouldn't burden the "core" ontology with such precise things, however
we should enable the possibility to use such an extension (another time,
same minding as the music ontology.

> 3) the class system must be able to map to the type system in the
> citation style language I designed [3]. In short, it is not enough to
> just encode the data: it needs to be able to be formatted according to
> the often archaic details of citation styles
>
> 4) should be developer-friendly; I consider examples like DOAP and
> SKOS to be models here
>

definitely


> Behind all of these goals are a more concrete goal: it should be
> perfect for using in OpenDocument/OpenOffice citation support.
>
> Non-goals
>
> 1) suporting (in the sense of say, lossless mapping to) library
> conventions as represented in MARC
>
> Primary intended users are scholars, researchers, students, and so
> forth. However, certainly it can and should be easily useable for the
> sort of data provide by book sellers, libraries and so forth.
>

Exact.


Great, thanks for taking the time to write that great introduction. From
there, we will be able to build-up and ultimately to create that ontology :0


Take care,


Fred

bda...@gmail.com

unread,
Apr 15, 2007, 2:28:09 PM4/15/07
to Bibliographic Ontology Specification Group

On Apr 15, 11:30 am, Frederick Giasson <f...@fgiasson.com> wrote:

...

> 2) must support the most demanding needs in the social sciences,
> > humanities, and law (though the last may get a bit beyond scope, since
> > it's another world of sorts), and those who deal with non-Western
> > languages
>
> Well, this is why a modular approach should be use. That way, if the
> ontology is well done, we will be able to easily plug extension modules
> to describe more precision and complexe things like the law things. We
> shouldn't burden the "core" ontology with such precise things, however
> we should enable the possibility to use such an extension (another time,
> same minding as the music ontology.

I definitely believe it is possible and important to create something
pretty clean and simple but also flexible. The key is really the
relationship properties.

FWIW, in the SVN version of the ontology, I was experimenting with an
idea that I think has a lot of promise. I hooked properties like
author, editor and so forth into the FRBR ontology (author subproperty
of frbr:creator, editor of frbr:realizer and so forth) with the idea
that more complex relationships could be inferred without forcing
people to have to explicitly model FRBR.

Just an idea ...

BTW, I did look at the music ontology earlier, in part because of the
FRBR connection. I actually like FRBR, even if I don't want to
actually have to encode all the complicated relationships (it gets
messy for a lot of citation stuff)!

Bruce

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