De-overloading scope WAS(Re: [sc34wg3] Question on TNC / Montreal minutes)

Marc de Graauw
Thu, 19 Sep 2002 00:00:43 +0200

* Marc
| When we look at the situation with the TNC and merging, there are
| actually three relevant possibilities:
| 1) Apply the TNC within a Topic Map and with merging
| 2) Apply the TNC within a Topic Map but not with merging
| 3) Never apply the TNC

* Lars
| Well, there are also lots of others. What is it you intend with 2)?
| How can you apply the TNC without doing merging?

I did not express this correctly. When one applies the TNC, that means on must
merge topics, so I should have distinguished merging topics and merging Topic
Maps. That gives:
2) Apply the TNC within a Topic Map but not when merging Topic Maps

This means a TM author wants to ensure topics have unique names, and use scope
when they do not, possibly to give users a cue what the name refers to. But
the author realizes that using the TNC when merging with an arbitrary Topic
Map is not safe. So when Topic Maps are merged, one must either not apply the
TNC in the resulting Topic Map or have a human fix nameclashes in the
resulting Topic Map. It's a bit like using the TNC as an authoring tool to
track homonyms within a Topic Map.

| What you write here implies that in your view certain scopes *are*
| "namespaces" or controlled vocabularies, and that the TNC should apply
| within these.


| I think that makes sense,


| but I am not at all certain that the TNC advocates agree.
| (Unfortunately, they are not active on this list at the moment...)


* Marc
| 'Paris' {France} versus 'Paris' {Texas}

* Lars
| Actually, I think this particular example is just misinformed. I
| wouldn't use scope in this way.

Graham once said this is terrible abuse of scope and one should use
associations, and you probably mean just that. True, but only if one is
interested in the city-country association in a Topic Map. If one is not, but
does want to disambiguate both Parises, scope can be used as a 'lazy' way to
do that. One problem with replacing this with associations is that TM engines
(i.e. the Omnigator) don't know which association to show to a user to
disambiguate the name. So when use scope 'Paris' {France} and 'Paris' {Texas}
the Omnigator will show "Paris (France)" and "Paris (Texas)" to the user,
which is helpful. If we model Paris/France and Paris/Texas with associations,
a user browsing a "Paris" must look at all (possibly many) associations to
know which Paris is meant here. When you type "Paris" in, the
first thing Britannica asks is:
      Did you mean...
      Paris (Fr.)

That's scope, and I don't see what's so wrong with it.