The evolving relationship between
Terminology and Technology
Nicholas Crofts
Chair ICOM CIDOC
Rio de Janeiro August 2013
Premises
1. Words are a special case of signs or symbols
• “any means of expression accepted in a society rests
in princip...
Premises
1. “For a large class of cases—though not for all—in
which we employ the word ‘meaning’ it can be
defined thus: t...
Premises
1. Terms are a subclass of names :
– Generic names
– Proper names
• Terminology = an organized system of names
• ...
Themes
• Historical development of “terminology”
• Terms and Concepts
• Internal and External representation
(technical vi...
Phases of terminology
1. Pre terminological
2. Terminological
3. Automation
a) Codes for concepts
b) Container / content
c...
1. Pre-terminological
• Socrates …
– what is beauty?
– what is truth?...
• not a terminology debate
• not a system of term...
Jacques-Louis David, La mort de Socrate
2. Terminological
• 18th Century …
– Enyclopaedias, dictionaries
• Carl von Linné (Linneus)
– System of botanical taxonomy...
3. Automated terminology
• Data = propositions represented in a
machine processable form
Phase 1. Codes = concepts
• Internal representation = external
representation
• Non human-readable form
• Code book needed...
Phase 2: Container/content model
• “it is important that each user
employ the same terms to
designate the same type of obj...
Drawbacks
• Developing a terminology is hard work
– AAT 15 year period
• Inflexible, when terms evolve
• Natural language ...
Phase 3. Post terminology
• Internal representation = codes
• User view = words
• RDF – SKOS
• Multiple discovery paths
• ...
Sports reference example
Ontology model
took place at
had duration
Period
Place
had member
had participant
Actor Event
Individual Group
52 classes
...
Still plenty of work…
• Concept management =/= terminology angst
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Terminology and technology

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The influence of technology on the practice of terminology. Presentation ny Nick Crofts, chair of CIDOC, from ICOM Rio 2013, joint meeting of CIDOC, ICOFOM and ICTOP. August 15th 2013. UNIRIO, Urca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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  • Terminology and technology

    1. 1. The evolving relationship between Terminology and Technology Nicholas Crofts Chair ICOM CIDOC Rio de Janeiro August 2013
    2. 2. Premises 1. Words are a special case of signs or symbols • “any means of expression accepted in a society rests in principle upon a collective habit, or on convention” Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics • Signifier (1,n) signifies (0,n) Signified
    3. 3. Premises 1. “For a large class of cases—though not for all—in which we employ the word ‘meaning’ it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language” Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations • Naming is one type of use • Not all uses involve naming… – and, but, although, however, usually, therefore… – Functional and performative words
    4. 4. Premises 1. Terms are a subclass of names : – Generic names – Proper names • Terminology = an organized system of names • A “term” is a name used in a terminology • Term (1,1) signifies (0,n) Signified
    5. 5. Themes • Historical development of “terminology” • Terms and Concepts • Internal and External representation (technical view vs end user view)
    6. 6. Phases of terminology 1. Pre terminological 2. Terminological 3. Automation a) Codes for concepts b) Container / content c) Post-terminology
    7. 7. 1. Pre-terminological • Socrates … – what is beauty? – what is truth?... • not a terminology debate • not a system of terms • focus is on concepts, the signified • Words have ambiguous relations with concepts… • 1 word means many things, 1 thing represented by many words
    8. 8. Jacques-Louis David, La mort de Socrate
    9. 9. 2. Terminological • 18th Century … – Enyclopaedias, dictionaries • Carl von Linné (Linneus) – System of botanical taxonomy – Systematic classification • Taxon = a class of objects, not an individual. • Unambiguous representation 1 term means 1 thing • Term is an identifier Linnaea borealis (twinflower)
    10. 10. 3. Automated terminology • Data = propositions represented in a machine processable form
    11. 11. Phase 1. Codes = concepts • Internal representation = external representation • Non human-readable form • Code book needed for interpretation • Dewey decimal classification • Totally unambiguous • No misleading connotations • Language neutral
    12. 12. Phase 2: Container/content model • “it is important that each user employ the same terms to designate the same type of objects, hence the usefulness of creating a standard vocabulary…” Africom Handbook of Standards • Machine readable and human readable… • CIDOC terminology standards WG • Getty AAT, TGN, ULAN Elings, M.W. and Waibel, G. Metadata for all…
    13. 13. Drawbacks • Developing a terminology is hard work – AAT 15 year period • Inflexible, when terms evolve • Natural language is polysemic and ambiguous – Terminology is unnatural language • Experts’ mind set – Steve project revealed 86% mismatch http://www.museumsandtheweb.com/files/trantSteveResearchReport200 8.pdf • Barriers to discovery
    14. 14. Phase 3. Post terminology • Internal representation = codes • User view = words • RDF – SKOS • Multiple discovery paths • Language neutral • Terminology control unnecessary
    15. 15. Sports reference example
    16. 16. Ontology model took place at had duration Period Place had member had participant Actor Event Individual Group 52 classes ~500’000 named entities
    17. 17. Still plenty of work… • Concept management =/= terminology angst

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