Archive for the ‘Scope’ Category

Scope Rules!

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

I was reminded of the power of scope (in the topic map sense) when I saw John D. Cook’s Quaternions in Paradise Lost.


See John’s post for the details but in summary, Kuiper’s Quaternions and Rotation Sequences quoted a passage from Milton that used the term quarterion.

Your search appliance and most if not all of the public search engines will happily return all uses of quarterion without distinction. (Yes, I am implying there is more than one meaning for quarterion. See John’s post for the details.)

In addition to distinguishing between usages in Milton and Kuiper, scope can cleanly separate terms by agency, activity, government or other distinctions.

Or you can simply wade through search glut.

Your call.

Dilbert schematics

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Dilbert schematics

In November of 2011, Dan Brickley writes:

How can we package, manage, mix and merge graph datasets that come from different contexts, without getting our data into a terrible mess?

During the last W3C RDF Working Group meeting, we were discussing approaches to packaging up ‘graphs’ of data into useful chunks that can be organized and combined. A related question, one always lurking in the background, was also discussed: how do we deal with data that goes out of date? Sometimes it is better to talk about events rather than changeable characteristics of something. So you might know my date of birth, and that is useful forever; with a bit of math and knowledge of today’s date, you can figure out my current age, whenever needed. So ‘date of birth’ on this measure has an attractive characteristic that isn’t shared by ‘age in years’.

At any point in time, I have at most one ‘age in years’ property; however, you can take two descriptions of me that were at some time true, and merge them to form a messy, self-contradictory description. With this in mind, how far should we be advocating that people model using time-invariant idioms, versus working on better packaging for our data so it is clearer when it was supposed to be true, or which parts might be more volatile?

Interesting to read as an issue for RDF modeling.

Not difficult to solve using scopes on associations in a topic map.

Question: What difficulties do time-invariant idioms introduce for modeling? What difficulties do non-time-invariant idioms introduce for processing?*

Different concerns and it isn’t enough to have an answer to a modeling issue without understanding the implications of the answer.

*Hint: As I read the post, it assumes a shared, “objective” notion of time. Perhaps works for the cartoon world, but what about elsewhere?

Degrees of Separation and Scope

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Most people have heard of the Six degrees of separation.

I am wondering how to adapt that to scope?

Reasoning that when I find that a particular author uses the term “list washing” as an alternative way to identify “record linkage,” I should scope that term by that author.

Assuming that author has co-authors, those authors should be used as scopes on that term as well.

That seems straight forward enough but then it occurred to me that anyone who either cites that article or one of those authors, is probably using the same term to identify the same subject. So I need to extend the scope to include those authors as well.

You can see where this is going.

But unlike the usual citation network, this is tracing at a more fine grained level the identification of subjects, which isn’t necessarily co-extensive with citation of an article.

If a legal analogy would help, courts cite prior decisions for all sorts of reasons and being able to identify the ones that are important to your case would save enormous amounts of time. Remembering that even in hard times top firms charge anywhere from $300 to $750/hour, saving time can be important.*

Thinking about it visually, imagine a citation network, those are common enough, but where you can lift out a set of connections based on the usage of a particular term to identify a subject.

Add merging of the different identifications and it starts to sound like a game, with scores, etc., to tease apart citation networks into references to particular subjects, even though the authors use different terminology.


*Public access to legal material projects should note that court opinions exhibit the same behavior. If a court in Case1 cites Case2 for a jurisdictional issue, it is likely that any other case citing Case1 and Case2, is also citing Case2 for a jurisdictional issue. Old law clerk trick. Not always true but true often enough to get a lot of mileage out of one identification of why a case was cited.