Versioning Concept Schemes for Persistent Retrieval
Things change. Words change, meaning changes and use changes both words and meaning. In information access systems this means concept schemes such as thesauri or clas- sification schemes change. They always have. Concept schemes that have survived have evolved over time, moving from one version, often called an edition, to the next. If we want to manage how words and meanings - and as a conse- quence use - change in an effective manner, and if we want to be able to search across versions of concept schemes, we have to track these changes. This paper explores how we might expand SKOS, a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) draft recommendation in order to do that kind of tracking.The Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) Core Guide is sponsored by the Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment Working Group. The second draft, edited by Alistair Miles and Dan Brickley, was issued in November 2005. SKOS is a “model for expressing the basic structure and content of concept schemes such as thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies, folksonomies, other types of controlled vocabulary and also concept schemes embedded in glossaries and terminologies” in RDF. How SKOS handles version in concept schemes is an open issue. The current draft guide suggests using OWL and DCTERMS as mechanisms for concept scheme revision.As it stands an editor of a concept scheme can make notes or declare in OWL that more than one version exists. This paper adds to the SKOS Core by introducing a tracking sys- tem for changes in concept schemes. We call this tracking system vocabulary ontogeny. Ontogeny is a biological term for the development of an organism during its lifetime. Here we use the ontogeny metaphor to describe how vocabularies change over their lifetime. Our purpose here is to create a conceptual mechanism that will track these changes and in so doing enhance information retrieval and prevent document loss through versioning, thereby enabling persistent retrieval.
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