[Crm-sig] non-existent objects

Reinhard Foertsch foertsch at uni-koeln.de
Wed Nov 7 17:58:46 EET 2012

I guess it is relevant and fully OK.


Am 07.11.2012 um 16:47 schrieb Athanasios Velios <a.velios at gmail.com>:

> Again a modest and relatively uninformed contribution on my behalf:
> We have lots of similar issues in the description of bookbinding 
> structures, where features are missing and the problem is more 
> complicated than that.
> What you describe could be considered as the condition of the statue: 
> e.g. missing. You are certain that the statue did exist. As we often do 
> in conservation, you assessed the statue's condition and concluded that 
> the whole statue is missing. So the uri should be valid because the 
> statue existed (and may well still exist).
> The difficulty starts when people want to describe a base for which a 
> statue never existed, say a half-finished base or a test base. The fact 
> that a statue never existed is now unrelated to condition yet equally 
> significant. I think the solution to this problem is to create a new 
> subclass of "base", something like "bases without statues" in your list.
> I hope the above is relevant.
> All the best,
> Thanasis
> On 07/11/12 15:17, Wolfgang Schmidle wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I am working on Arachne's Cidoc representation, and we came across a
>> problem with non-existent objects and how to state their non-existence.
>> A statue may be set up using e.g. a base or a plinth. In Arachne this
>> can be specified in a data field called "Aufstellung" ("setup"). One can
>> choose a description from a fixed list, for example "Basisplatte" or
>> "Fußplatte/Plinthe". Now, we could model it as
>>      E22 (the statue, without setup) P46i forms part of E22 (the statue
>> plus the setup) P2 has type E55 Type e.g. "Basisplatte"
>> but I am told that the setup should be seen as a part of the statue.
>> Consequently we are modelling it as
>>      E22 (the statue, including the setup) P46 is composed of E22 (the
>> setup) P2 has type E55 Type e.g. "Basisplatte"
>> However, Aufstellung may also have the value "ohne Basis" ("without
>> base"). In this case the second E22 would denote a non-existent object,
>> and its Type "ohne Basis" would state the non-existence of this object.
>> (If the data field is left empty, we make no statement at all about the
>> setup.)
>> Is this the right way to model it? And is there a problem in RDF with an
>> URI for a non-existent object?
>> Additional question: Does Cidoc have an opinion about the the exact
>> meaning of E22 P46 E22 P2 E55 "ohne Basis"? Let's take the word "sheep"
>> as an example, where the singular and plural forms are the same: one
>> sheep, two sheep. Is it comparable to A) "while most words have a plural
>> morpheme, the particular word sheep has none", or B) "for systematic
>> reasons we assume that all words have a plural morpheme, but for the
>> particular word sheep it is null"?
>> Thanks,
>> Wolfgang
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