[Crm-sig] ISSUE: representing compound name strings

Richard Light richard at light.demon.co.uk
Thu Nov 22 10:21:35 EET 2018

On 21/11/2018 22:43, Robert Sanderson wrote:


My concern with this approach is that standard mechanisms for interacting with the data will not expect these sorts of compound values.  This would also affect other ongoing discussions, such as compound monetary amounts or other dimensions.

For example, if there are subfield indicators or XML elements embedded within a literal, rather than using the model to manage this information, queries at the model level will not work. If “Dr” is not a separate Appellation from “Snoopy”, with an appropriate Type associated with it to ensure it is known to be a prefix rather than a first name, it will be invisible to SPARQL or any other graph query language.

For names, which already support partitioning, the answer seems obvious to me that we should continue to use the model as intended.  The consistency for compound dimensions needs further discussion.  Similarly the value range for dimensions should follow existing patterns (P81a anyone?) rather than trying to embed one format within another.
Martin's original suggestion involved identifying contexts where we could express compound values as a single string. This approach potentially has merit where such a string, as a whole, is in a format which is meaningful within existing systems and processible by existing software.  As you say, there is a direct trade-off between the convenience and structural simplicity of having a single string (and an associated single 'unit') and the [lack of] potential for native RDF querying of the contents of that string.

I think it is more of a loss to be unable to query on people with forename "Richard" than to be unable to query all dimensions involving '6 inches'.  So I agree that we should not pursue this particular line of thought.

As regards using an XML encoding within a literal, I think this would be a really bad idea. It would require the provision of an XML parser and support tools within the context of all RDF serializations (Turtle, JSON, ...).  RDF/XML has provision for embedded XML, but this wouldn't help for any other serialization of the RDF.



From: Crm-sig <crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr><mailto:crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr> on behalf of Martin Doerr <martin at ics.forth.gr><mailto:martin at ics.forth.gr>
Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 2:11 PM
To: "crm-sig at ics.forth.gr"<mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr> <crm-sig at ics.forth.gr><mailto:crm-sig at ics.forth.gr>
Subject: Re: [Crm-sig] ISSUE: representing compound name strings

Dear Richard,

XML is even better. The distinction between XML tags and MARC subfield markers is not so substantial. An XML file is still a string. The question is about RDF, putting a compound into rdfs:Literal.
So, again, is there a good practice with XML elements ????



On 11/21/2018 6:58 PM, Richard Light wrote:

On 15/11/2018 21:28, Martin Doerr wrote:
Dear All,

I would expect that the library or archival community do have a good practice how to "squeeze" a compound name, such as :
"His Majesty Dr. Snoopy Hickup Miller Jr", with respective separators, in a machine readable string, that could be used as custom datatype in an rdfs:Literal as one instance of Appellation, rather than defining all possible name constituents as individual rdf properties.

Could be a MARC string? XML? TEI?

This would be very helpful for our users.

I'm pretty sure that the most recent attempt at doing this will be the subfield markers ($a, etc.) in MARC. which date from the era of punched cards.  The requirement that all of the name appears in a single string will rule out anything that might have been done in XML (where you might typically use attributes or subelements) or TEI (which is, after all, simply an XML application).

It's a nice idea, which follows the approach of encoding one 'compound' value as a single string, but I don't think we will find a ready-made standard for it.




Richard Light


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 Dr. Martin Doerr

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