application/rdf+xml

Using SKOS to describe communication structures

The last few weeks (or was it months?) I have hung out with the SIOC people on IRC and the mailing list and obviously I blog about it. SIOC is a ontology for Semanticaly Interlinced Online Communities. As such it is closely related to communication structures like a “statement” or “post” or whatever you call a message in your communication domain.

To define the terms used in a communication domain (and I mean domains like “bloggosphere”, “irc”, “mail”) SKOS was made. So the first step to enrich SIOC data is to define a few skos:Concepts:


 <skos:Concept rdf:about="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication#weblog">
  <skos:prefLabel>Weblog</skos:prefLabel>
  <skos:altLabel>Blog</skos:altLabel>
  <owl:sameAs rdf:resource="http://xmlns.com/wordnet/1.6/Blog" />
 </skos:Concept>
 <skos:Concept rdf:about="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#post">
  <skos:prefLabel>Post</skos:prefLabel>
  <skos:altLabel>Weblog Entry</skos:altLabel>
  <skos:altLabel>Blog Entry</skos:altLabel>
  <skos:broader rdf:resource="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication#weblog" />
  <skos:narrower rdf:resource="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#comment" />
 </skos:Concept>
 <skos:Concept rdf:about="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#comment">
  <skos:prefLabel>Comment</skos:prefLabel>
  <skos:broader rdf:resource="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#post" />
  <skos:narrower rdf:resource="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#trackback" />
 </skos:Concept>
 <skos:Concept rdf:about="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#trackback">
  <skos:prefLabel>Trackback</skos:prefLabel>
  <skos:broader rdf:resource="http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#comment" />
 </skos:Concept>

Using this thesaurus (or communication domain structure) we

may add additional semantics to SIOC data while maintaining SIOCs vision "to describe the information community sites have [] their structure and contents" [1] This thesaurus for a Weblog has a pretty flat structure, simply saying that a trackback is a subcategory of a comment which itself is a post as a subcategory of a weblog.

Having the concept of a sioc:Post and using a skos:Concept as a additional skos:subject with it could indicate the type of a message. This way the concept of a sioc:Post is omnipresent in all communication domains and per domain additional information is given how a message is named or labeled in that specific domain.

Example 1: A Usenet News Article would be of type sioc:Post and would have a skos:subject of http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/usenet#article. A reply on this message would be of type sioc:Post and would have a skos:subject of http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/usenet#article.

Example 1: A weblog entry would be of type sioc:Post and would have a skos:subject of http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#entry. A reply on this message would be of type sioc:Post and would have a skos:subject of http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#comment.

In both examples http://b4mad.net/skos/communication#comment is the skos:broader concept of http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/weblog#comment and http://b4mad.net/skos/communication/usenet#comment.

Using this pattern it is possible to interlink communication taking place in different communication domains such as Usenet News and Weblogs.

A full example of this pattern is available here. I also have made up a somehow incomplete thesaurus for the communication domains: weblog, usenet, mailinglist.