[Tdwg-tag] Meaning of 'concept'

Robert Gales rgales at ku.edu
Tue May 2 16:08:52 CEST 2006

I agree, concept is far too overloaded a term to use for general 
conversations regarding ontologies.  Not only is the term overloaded 
across domains, even within a single domain, such as taxonomy, it is 
difficult at best to get consensus on the definition of concept.

I tend to prefer the terms class and properties.  Whatever terms we 
decide on, we should probably have very brief definitions of them.  That 
probably goes for any terminology we decide on within the group, not 
only so we understand one another, but outside readers understand any of 
the documentation that we produce.

- Rob

Roger Hyam wrote:
> Hi All,
> Gregor and I are having a discussion over what 'concept' means.
> Gregor said: Roger, I suggest, you replace unqualified "concept" with 
> something that qualifies what kind of concept you mean. If I read 
> concept I think of a taxon concept or descriptive concept (flower, 
> color, blue, frequently) but not of the kind of concepts you mean (I 
> would say "data elements" for these, but I leave it to you. This was the 
> source of the major misunderstanding about Management system and data. 
> Note that both taxon and descriptive concepts have and need ontology 
> information, even if not expressed in RDF - so just saying "ontology 
> concepts" would not be very clear I believe.
> I know TAPIR and BioCASE use concepts to mean element or attribute and 
> believe DwC do as well. I thought I was on clear ground here in using it 
> in the context of ontologies.
> What word other than 'concept' can I use to describe a thing in an 
> ontology i.e. a class, property, attribute whatever.
> Any suggestions,
> Roger
> -- 
> -------------------------------------
> Roger Hyam
> Technical Architect
> Taxonomic Databases Working Group
> -------------------------------------
> http://www.tdwg.org
> roger at tdwg.org <mailto:roger at tdwg.org>
> +44 1578 722782
> -------------------------------------
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