[tdwg-tag] Institutions are People if they own a Collection

Roger Hyam rogerhyam at mac.com
Sun Oct 18 16:02:01 CEST 2009

Hi Bob,

This is why I believe we should not make assertions in the core  
ontology about range and domain of properties.

If some one wants to import these notions (terms) then they are forced  
to also import our (possibly flawed) world view.

If we were to create a perfect model of the reality of the  
biodiversity informatics domain in OWL (or XML Schema or UML or  
alphabetti spaghetti) due to Hyam's unoriginal law* it would be wrong  
next week or certainly by the next TDWG meeting.

This is why we should perhaps  have a list of terms (bound to URIs)  
and a separate set of models that are used for particular occasions.  
Ultimately the semantics of the data is governed by the query that is  
being asked i.e. it is context sensitive. "Give that XYZ, what are the  

* Hyam's unoriginal law states "The future is different - that is how  
we tell it isn't the present."

Hope this helps,


On 17 Oct 2009, at 22:45, Bob Morris wrote:

> http://rs.tdwg.org/ontology/voc/Collection.rdf#hasOwner
> specifies two classes in its range: Person and Institution,
> The formal semantics of rdfs:range entails that the actual range of
> an object property is the intersection of the named rdfs:range
> classes.
> I believe this all entails that the only owner of a Collection is
> something that is both a Person and an Institution.
> Also, since these classes are not(?) defined as disjoint, the result
> is that any set of triples
>   Roger rdfs:type Person
>   C hasOwner Roger
> turns Roger into an Institution
> Likewise
>   Kew rdfs:type Institution
>   C hasOwner Kew
> turns Kew into a Person
> I could be wrong about all this, perhaps unless I too am an
> Institution, since, in my experience, Institutions rarely admit to
> being wrong. (Uh, oh, better not go there... :-)  )
> Bob Morris
> p.s.
> This also suggests that the stylesheet human.xsl is somewhat
> recalcitrant, since the html rendering of
> http://rs.tdwg.org/ontology/voc/Collection.rdf only sees Institution
> as the range of hasOwner
> -- 
> Robert A. Morris
> Professor of Computer Science (nominally retired)
> UMASS-Boston
> 100 Morrissey Blvd
> Boston, MA 02125-3390
> Associate, Harvard University Herberia
> email: ram at cs.umb.edu
> web: http://bdei.cs.umb.edu/
> web: http://etaxonomy.org/FilteredPush
> http://www.cs.umb.edu/~ram
> phone (+1)617 287 6466
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