[Crm-sig] New Issue: Re-label E22, E25, E71 to remove "Man-"

George Bruseker bruseker at ics.forth.gr
Fri Apr 12 14:45:28 EEST 2019

Dear all,

I think there is a distinction to be made in the question of whether the 
language is in fact biased and whether it is perceived as biased. While 
I would agree with Pierre that there are arguments to be made that it is 
not in fact exclusive language in principle (and valid counterarguments 
to be sure), it is in fact taken by many as being biased and exclusive. 
This in itself makes it exclusive and this is unnecessary and unwanted.

Since a label in the ontology is just a label, and our intention with 
the label in this case is to give a heuristic to the ontology user in 
order to point towards non-naturally generated objects (man made object 
as we have said to now), I think that dropping 'man' from 'man made', 
does not impede this functionality.

Removing this part of the label, however, can remove an unintended 
impression of gender bias. This seems to be a functional gain that is 
compatible with the spirit of CIDOC CRM (view neutral by nature).

Between 'made' and 'human made', I would lean to the latter. 'Made 
Object' is already at the limit of understandability in English (it also 
has some unintended connotations of Mafia language). I think maybe 
'human made', while sounding awkward in present day English, may be the 
direction that everyday language will go anyhow. 'Humankind' sounds very 
natural and more inclusive than 'mankind' certainly. The adjectival form 
will also follow.

Another concern is how problematic would the translation be. Checking 
the translations I could find, I did not find a major problem, but it is 
something to take into consideration.

A serious technical and cost concern for users of CRM would be that 
existing data encoded with the old URIs will now be incompatible with 
this new label. That is a significant trade off.

Finally, there is another class (E24) that includes man made. Added 

E22 Ανθρωπογενές Αντικείμενο
E24 Ανθρωπογενές Υλικό Πράγμα
E25 Ανθρωπογενές Μόρφωμα
E71 Ανθρωπογενές Δημιούργημα

E22-人造物件 (Man-Made Object)
E24-人造实体物 (Physical Man-Made Thing)
E25-人造外貌表征 (Man-Made Feature)
E71-人造物 (Man-Made Thing)

E71 Künstliches
E22 Künstlicher Gegenstand
E24 Hergestelltes
E25 Hergestelltes Merkmal

I, in any case, think it is probably worth making the change -unless the 
costs to users in real terms is exorbitant - since the existing label 
can be perceived to be biased and this is wholly unintended by the 
community which aims to be both neutral and inclusive.



On 2019-04-12 14:23, Dominic Oldman wrote:
> I strongly agree with Florian.
>  It is simply right to make these changes.
>  D
> -------------------------
> FROM: Crm-sig <crm-sig-bounces at ics.forth.gr> on behalf of Florian
> Kräutli <fkraeutli at mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de>
> SENT: 12 April 2019 11:35
> TO: Pierre Choffé; Athanasios Velios; crm-sig at ics.forth.gr
> SUBJECT: Re: [Crm-sig] New Issue: Re-label E22, E25, E71 to remove
> "Man-"
> Dear Pierre and all,
> I strongly disagree. This is not about the origins of the word but of
> its usage and meaning in present day. The CRM should reflect
> (changing) knowledge contexts and we as a community should react to
> and respect developments in the world, and not decide based on our
> personal opinions about them.
> I think this should be put up as an issue and I would vote in favour
> of either suggestion: dropping ‘man’ or replacing it with
> ‘human’.
> Best,
> Florian
> On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 12:13 PM +0200, "Pierre Choffé"
> <choffepierre at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> This subject is typical of the politically correct attitude of our
>> times and most people (including me) generally avoid getting
>> involved in such discussions - especially on social media where you
>> would immediately get drowned in a flood of insults - and the result
>> is that we have a feeling of consensus on the matter.
>> Now, we as a community might have a different point of view,
>> starting with the knowledge we have of the origin of the word "man"
>> (please consult the wikipedia page [2] for a brief introduction).
>> Can we please avoid this kind of discussions and leave it to Twitter
>> and Facebook ?
>> Et pax in Terra hominibus bonae volontatis... (any woman feeling
>> excluded here ?)
>> Have a nice day,
>> Pierre
>> On Fri, Apr 12th, 2019 at 11:2 AM, Athanasios Velios
>> <a.velios at arts.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> I support the change of the English labels to:
>>> E22 Made Object
>>> E25 Made Feature
>>> E71 Made Thing
>>> And I think this can be proposed as an issue to be voted through
>>> the SIG
>>> list.
>>> All the best,
>>> Thanasis
>>> On 12/04/2019 05:38, Robert Sanderson wrote:
>>>> Dear all,
>>>> On behalf of the Linked Art consortium, I would like to propose
>>> that the
>>>> labels for E22 Man-Made Object, E25 Man-Made Feature and E71
>>> Man-Made
>>>> Thing be changed to drop the unnecessarily gendered “Man-“.
>>> In this day
>>>> and age, I think we should recognize that inclusion and
>>> diversity are
>>>> core features of community acceptance, and that including
>>> gender-biased
>>>> language is alienating.
>>>> Thus the proposal is: E22’s label should be changed to Made
>>> Object, E25
>>>> changed to Made Feature and E71 changed to Made Thing.
>>>> The “human” nature of the agent that does the making is
>>> explicit in the
>>>> ontology, in that only humans or groups there-of can be Actors
>>> and carry
>>>> out Productions or Creations, so there is no ambiguity about
>>> non-humans
>>>> making these.
>>>> This issue was discussed at length, and has been open in our
>>> profile’s
>>>> tracker for 12 months now. We would greatly prefer that it be
>>> solved by
>>>> changing the labels in the documentation, and thereby in the
>>> RDFS,
>>>> rather than other RDF specific approaches such as minting new
>>> terms and
>>>> using owl:sameAs to assert equality, or rebranding only in the
>>>> serialization but persisting in other serializations. The change
>>> is
>>>> consistent, reduces the length of the class names, and is an
>>> easy
>>>> substitution. The comprehensibility of the label is still the
>>> same.
>>>> Given the renaming of Collection to Curated Holding, migration
>>> of
>>>> existing data has the same solution - just substitute the
>>> labels.
>>>> As a second choice, if the above is not acceptable, we propose
>>> to
>>>> instead replace “Man-“ with “Human-“ … only two
>>> additional characters,
>>>> but a bit more of a mouthful.
>>>> Many thanks for your engagement with this issue!
>>>> Rob
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> Links:
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> [1] http://lists.ics.forth.gr/mailman/listinfo/crm-sig
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_(word)
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Dr. George Bruseker
R & D Engineer

Centre for Cultural Informatics
Institute of Computer Science
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
Science and Technology Park of Crete
Vassilika Vouton, P.O.Box 1385, GR-711 10 Heraklion, Crete, Greece

Tel.: +30 2810 391619   Fax: +30 2810 391638   E-mail: 
bruseker at ics.forth.gr
URL: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl

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