[Crm-sig] RDFS, XML and more

Martin Doerr martin at ics.forth.gr
Thu Sep 9 23:12:01 EEST 2021

Dear Robert, Mark,

Of course this is not elegant schema design. Unease is accepted, but 
what are the alternatives??

On 9/9/2021 10:30 PM, Robert Sanderson wrote:
> As expected, it entails the nonsense that the literal "fish"@en is an 
> E1, E41, E90, etc. which is garbage caused by this pollution in the 
> ontology, as literals cannot be the subject of triples.
This is, in my eyes, not nonsense, but simply reality. The literal 
"fish" is used as a name. Hence it is ontologically an E41. Following 
the definition of E90, "fish"@en is also symbolic object, regardless 
whether one distinguishes data objects and literals. Note, that the 
definitions of the CRM are ontological, not syntactic in the first place.

This is a classical problem of data integration, and why formal 
ontologies were invented. Literature in the 1980ties discussed that 
classes can be hidden in boolean values, strings, or be explicit tables. 
There is an arbitrary decision of applications to name things via 
labels, or via classes in RDF/OWL. SKOS exclusively names things via 

So, if one makes a knowledge base that commits to the CRM, I would like 
to have a query that returns all names in the whole world I can reach, 
regardless what encoding variant and KR paradigm is used. Otherwise, 
SKOS names will not be appellations.

Alternatively, we close our eyes, and hard code in data entry and query 
that "fish" is used as Appellation, but just don't write it down.

@en actually is equivalent to "has language" etc. With these hidden 
properties RDFS itself violates the separation of Literals and data 
objects.  It opens up a whole world of user-defined data objects within 
Literals, with no logical connection to the data objects. This is 
nothing than a bad later patch to a problem not initially anticipated. 
How are these compatible with OWL reasoners?

There is no elegant solution to providing an ontology that describes a 
reality based on FOL to fitting it exactly with Schema languages.

At least, this is how I perceive this problem, having seen enough 
knowledge representation languages and information integration 
literature from the eighties and implementations from the nineties on.

For me, the question is completely practical: We have a CRM compatible 
KB, a real platform. What is the simplest form that I get all names in 
the KB back?  I have not seen a whole "RDF" world that my statement 
label IsA P1 would turn upside down. Do you have one?


> Hope that helps explain my unease!
> Rob

  Dr. Martin Doerr
  Honorary Head of the
  Center for Cultural Informatics
  Information Systems Laboratory
  Institute of Computer Science
  Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
  N.Plastira 100, Vassilika Vouton,
  GR70013 Heraklion,Crete,Greece
  Email: martin at ics.forth.gr
  Web-site: http://www.ics.forth.gr/isl

More information about the Crm-sig mailing list