[sc34wg3] The Disambiguating Association [was: De-overloading scope]

Steve Pepper sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Thu, 19 Sep 2002 15:14:57 +0200

At 00:00 19/09/02 +0200, Marc de Graauw wrote:
>* 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.

[slight aside]

In my course on topic map modelling I use the term "disambiguating
association" in connection with strategies for coping with the TNC.

Basically, the idea is that humans disambiguate homonyms through
reference to a related topic. The class-instance relationship is
the most natural one and helps in most cases, e.g.

    'Macbeth' (play), 'Macbeth' {character}, 'Macbeth' {opera}

But what do humans do with homonyms belonging to the same class?
It turns out that, for any given topic type, there is almost always
a relationship type that acts as the natural fallback for like-named
topics of that type. In the case of operas, it is the 'composed-by'

    'La Boh=E8me' (Puccini), 'La Boh=E8me' (Leoncavallo)

For geographical locations (e.g. city), it is the region that
locates it:

    'Paris' (France), 'Paris' (Texas)


I have never done it yet, but I've thought about encoding this
relationship in the topic map schema, e.g. by creating an
association (of type 'disambiguating association') between 'city'
and 'located-in', or between 'opera' and 'composed-by'.


Steve Pepper, Chief Executive Officer <pepper@ontopia.net>
Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34/WG3  Editor, XTM (XML Topic Maps)
Ontopia AS, Waldemar Thranes gt. 98, N-0175 Oslo, Norway.
http://www.ontopia.net/ phone: +47-23233080 GSM: +47-90827246