[Crm-sig] NEW ISSUE: Groups and carried out by

Robert Sanderson azaroth42 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 16 16:37:34 EEST 2021

Dear all,

A recent discussion in the Linked Art group led to a question that we
couldn't resolve about the nature of Groups with respect to activities.

It seems to us that there are some distinct use cases for Group, that have
different implications for what is meant by an Activity is carried out by
that Group.

There is a formal or informal organization that can, as a single entity, be
reasonably attributed with the carrying out of some activity. Some examples:

Offices -- The President of the US wrote an executive order. Assuming
(surely incorrectly) that the president actually wrote the order rather
than an aide, then only one actual Person did the work as there's only one
member of the group at the time the activity was carried out. So having the
knowledge of Joinings and Leavings of the Group, we would know exactly
which person was involved.

Small, Named Groups --  "The Beatles" (E74 Group) carried out (p14) the
performance (E7) of their song "Hey Jude" (Exx Auditory Item). Here it
seems reasonable to attribute the performance to the group as a whole,
rather than the individual members ... Ringo, Paul, George & John.
Attributing the Group doesn't let us know which individuals actually
participated, but if we had the Joining and Leaving activities, we could
calculate the possible participants with a reasonable assumption that they
all participated to some degree.

Scriptorium of, Workshop of, Circle of, Studio of, ... -- The painting was
created by the workshop of Rembrandt.  We know that some member(s) of the
group carried out the activity, but also that not all members of the group
did it, and the group is not necessarily "named", rather constructed.

Organizations -- The Getty published AAT. Here the attribution of the group
seems reasonable, but there's no reasonable assumption that all members of
the group had anything to do with the activity. We probably don't know who
was involved, other than it's not everyone. So here carried out by is
really "This was carried out by one or more contemporary members of the
group in the name of the group"

Nationalities -- Arguable as to whether there is any coherent action of a
nationality, but assuming that an election is such a thing, then "The US
elected Joe Biden as President" definitely doesn't mean that all members,
even members at the time of the activity, participated.
Cultures seem similar, with regards to carried out.

Subsets of Groups -- "Anonymous 17th Century Italians" seems to fall into
the Nationality use -- 17th C Italians is a subset of Italians -- but the
intent is that some small number of members of the group carried it out
rather than some large number of members.

This doesn't seem like a use for P14.1, as it's orthogonal to roles like
"master craftsman" or "translator" or "illuminator".

This also seems property rather than class specific: the ownership by a
group is clear as to the nature of the participation. Saying that the Getty
is current_owner_of a Painting really is The Getty as a legal entity, and
absolutely not the current people employed there.

So ...

Is there a need to distinguish the type of carried_out-ness further than we
already have for Groups?  For example something like <Activity>
Pxx_carried_out_by_member_or_members_of <Group> meaning that the group is
standing for the set of possible actors that carried out the activity, as a
subPropertyOf P14 ?

Thoughts?  (And no need to add this to the coming SIG agenda unless there's
time and desire to discuss sooner rather than later)

Many thanks!


Rob Sanderson
Director for Cultural Heritage Metadata
Yale University
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