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Vocabularies specification: Request for Comments

This document completed its RFC period in October 2008, and became a Recommendation v1.19 on 07 October 2009.

There are also machine-readable RDF files available at the URL given in section 4 of this document.

The SKOS document is now a W3C Recommendation; there is therefore nothing stopping this current document from going forward to IVOA Recommendation. There are no outstanding issues for the document (as of 2009 Aug 28).

If you wish to see line-by-line changes to the document, see the volute repository. The mapping of document versions to repository revisions is:

version revision
1.15 757
1.16 855
1.17 1105
1.18 1112

(To clarify: this means that, as of 2009 Sep 16, all of the textual comments listed below have been addressed in version 1.18, subversion revision 1112)

In order to add a comment to the document, please edit this page and add your comment to the list below (include your WikiName so authors can contact you for further information). When the author(s) of the document have considered the comment, they will provide a response after the comment.

Discussions about any of the comments or responses should be conducted on the Semantics mailing list, semantics@ivoa.net.

Comments from the community

  • Comment by BobHanisch (29 Sept 2008)
    • In general I find this document to be well-organized, and I think it is a useful addition to IVOA standards.
    • I think the language of "a proposal" all needs to be taken out, however. The assumption is that the document becomes a standard, and when referred to in this context, language like "the proposed standard" and "the purpose of this proposal" does not make any sense.
    • Agreed: I've adjusted the text accordingly, in the repository (see revision 802) (NormanGray)

  • Comment by Antoine Isaac, one of the authors of the SKOS Primer, 30 Sep 2008 (via Norman). Antoine made some on-list comments on the SKOS content of the Vocabularies document.
  • Comment by Norman: correspondence with the broader community indicated that there was some potential confusion about the scope of the use-cases. I made some very minor adjustments to clarify this (see Volute revision 970)

TCG Review

Vocabularies document has a normative dependency on the W3C SKOS standard. Although that was due to be completed at the end of 2008, the process is still in last call. It should, therefore, be completed 'soon', and Norman proposes that we complete the TCG review as normal and only postpone the Exec review until after the SKOS standard becomes a W3C Rec. This is now a W3C standard, and so the Vocabularies document can go for IVOA Exec review as soon as this RFC is (finally) complete.

The remaining SKOS issues are fine technical detail, and very unlikely to have any impact on our use of SKOS in this document.


During the TCG review, Working and Interest Group chairs should add their comments under their name:

Applications (Tom McGlynn, Mark Taylor)

This is very well put together, it should be approved.

One comment: Section 3.2, item 5 recommends that vocabularies SHOULD make explicit declaration of language localisation, but if I'm reading it correctly the example in section 4.1 doesn't do this - the definition is in English, but that is not explicitly declared. Given the prevalence of English in the VO and (at least professional) astronomy, would it be a good idea to remove that recommendation and agree that English is assumed where no language declaration is made, rather than fix up the example? I admit this is an editorial comment, which should have been aired before TCG review, so the authors may feel it's too late to consider such a change. (MarkTaylor)

Thanks. I've fixed the examples, checking that they pass the validator without errors or warnings (see the current revision 1.18). I'm inclined to retain the current requirement, because (i) it's a should rather than a must, so if someone feels they have good reason to omit the language they can do so (I'm aware this is slightly different from your point); but mostly (ii) the validator will check this, and people should be discouraged from publishing a vocabulary which hasn't gone through the validator. (NormanGray)

Data Access Layer (Keith Noddle, Jesus Salgado)

I approve this document. (Keith Noddle)

Data Model (Mireille Louys, AnitaRichards)

I approve this document. (MireilleLouys)

Grid&Web Sevices (Matthew Graham, Paul Harrison)

I approve this document (MatthewGraham)

Registry (Ray Plante, Aurelien Stebe)

I approve this document; nice work. (RayPlante)

Semantics (Sebastien Derriere, Norman Gray)

I approve! (NormanGray)

VOEvent (Rob Seaman, Alasdair Allan)

Yes. (RobSeaman)

VO Query Language (Pedro Osuna, Yuji Shirasaki)

I approve (PedroOsuna)

VOTable (François Ochsenbein)

Well structured document which makes a synthesis between the vocabularies in use for decades in astronomy and the VO era. I approve the document (FrancoisOchsenbein)

Standard and Processes (Francoise Genova)

Astro RG (Masatoshi Ohishi)

Please go ahead. (MasatoshiOhishi)

Data Curation & Preservation (Bob Hanisch)

The concern I raised earlier, about the language being too tentative, has largely been resolved. The only exception is the Abstract, which begins with a sentence justifying the need for the document; I think this first sentence can just be removed. Also, the paragraphs highlighted in yellow refer to an update to SKOS that was supposed to have happened in December 2008. It would be nice if this text could be updated or clarified as to the SKOS status. These are quite minor points, however, and I approve of the document.

Thanks, Bob. This, and issue 9 (about the definition example), are fixed in revisions 938 and 939.

Theory (Herve Wozniak, Claudio Gheller)

Approved. (HerveWozniak)

TCG (ChristopheArviset, Severin Gaudet)

The standard is very well written, provide various examples of reference implementations in section 4 that give good confidence of this standard usefulness and validity. I approve this document.

A minor editorial comment on section 2.2. Would it be useful to directly indicate which SKOS concepts (single URI and single preferred label) are REQUIRED and others only OPTIONAL? It is currently a bit "hidden" in the next paragraph.

Thanks: fixed in revision 940 (NormanGray).

Like Norman suggested, I think it is wise to wait for the SKOS standard to become a W3C Rec before we formally submit this standard for the Exec approval.

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Topic revision: r29 - 2012-08-01 - NormanGray
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