[sc34wg3] Association items

Nikita Ogievetsky sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Wed, 08 Jun 2005 23:15:19 -0400

Dear Patrick and all dislikers of unary associations,

Could you please model this:
I maintained a topic map that contained association between parents that
gave their genes material to a child (supposing I do not care about
children, so I do not keep them in the topic map)
Then one day a guy comes in with an embryo in a tube.
Or perhaps it was a prokaryote that asexually reproduced by binary fission?

In any case, do I have to throw my system away, and write a new one?
What happens with the information in the mean time?

Yes you can represent everything in 2+ associations. 
But sometimes you can not: if you have certain ontology to fit in and if
modifying ontology on the fly is not the luxury that you posses.

Hope that everybody enjoys the summer (or winter). 


! -----Original Message-----
! From: sc34wg3-admin@isotopicmaps.org [mailto:sc34wg3-
! admin@isotopicmaps.org] On Behalf Of Patrick Durusau
! Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 8:00 PM
! To: sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
! Subject: [sc34wg3] Association items
! This one was sent yesterday and was the first time I noticed that my
! posts weren't making it to the list. :-(
! Greetings!
! This is mainly directed at Lars and Graham but I thought others might be
! interested in the question and any ensuing discussion.
! I am trying to model the various parts of the TMDM as assertions and in
! the course of re-reading the TMDM, I ran across the following at 5.7
! Association Items:
! "An association is a representation of a relationship between one or
! more subjects."
! I mined the SC34WG3 archives for prior discussion of this point and
! found Lars' post of April 18, 2003, subject line: Re: [sc34wg3]
! Questions on N0396 (2) one or more association memberships, pointing out:
! ***quote***
! This is a carry-over from HyTM and XTM., both of which allow unary
! associations. The rationale, I have been told, was that unary
! associations are essentially assertions about a single subject, such
! as:
! is-inquisitive(jan : person)
! SAM has ot have this because HyTM and XTM have it.
! ***/quote***
! (For those of you with a historical interest, see Note 41 in ISO
! 13250:1999 for HyTM and 2.2.4 Association for XTM. BTW, for newcomers to
! the community, "SAM" was the prior name for what has become the TMDM.)
! There is no question Lars is correct about HyTM and XTM, but I am less
! certain that answers the question about how to model a "unary"
! association.
! Note 41 (from ISO 13250) says: "Thus, the containing assoc element can
! assert that a topic has one or more specific relationships to itself."
! Although it is represented in syntax as a "unary" association, shouldn't
! it be modeled as an association with two roles, etc.?
! This is not the only place where the issue comes up, as topic name, for
! example, is mentioned as a specialized kind of occurrence (TMDM, page
! 11) and it is later noted that an occurrence is a specialized form of an
! association (TMDM, page 13).
! NOTE: I am NOT suggesting any change in syntax, processing, etc., but am
! asking if the "unary" association in syntax should be modeled as though
! it were an association with two (or more) roles, role players, etc. Some
! parts of which are implied, for example with topic name if it is
! considered ultimately to be a form of an association (I take it the
! roles are implied even though the role players are known).
! Hope everyone is having a great day!
! Patrick
! PS: For those of you who are interested, the example that Lars' gives
! above:
! is-inquisitive(jan : person)
! Can be  seen  as  two roles: characteristic/person, with two role
! players: is-inquisitive/jan.
! Suppose in the best tradition of English anyway, the role of
! characteristic is silent. ;-)
! --
! Patrick Durusau
! Patrick@Durusau.net
! Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
! Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model
! Member, Text Encoding Initiative Board of Directors, 2003-2005
! Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work!
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