SKOS Matures

April 8, 2009

ISKO UK’s SKOS colleague Antoine Isaac advises that after a long gestation period, SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) has matured to become a W3C candidate recommendation. This has been achieved only after an enormous amount of work and endless discussion by the SWD-WG (W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group) over several years. To accompany the recommendation, a new Working Draft of the SKOS Primer has also been published.

The SWD-WG is now calling for ‘implementations’. Implementations can include:

  • any vocabulary (thesaurus, classification system, subject heading system, taxonomy or other KOS) or mapping between vocabularies that has been published in the Web as machine-readable data using SKOS, and/or has been made available via programmatic services using SKOS
  • any software that has the capability to read and/or write SKOS data, and/or can check whether a given SKOS dataset is consistent with the SKOS data model
  • Once an appropriate number of implementations and comments have been recorded and verified, the Candidate Recommendation will become a Proposed Recommendation and subsequently a full W3C Recommendation. W3C Recommendations are comparable to standards published by other organizations.

    SKOS will then join other key W3C recommendations such as XHTML, CSS2, GRDDL, SPARQL, SVG, XSLT and of course, XML itself, as building blocks of the Semantic Web.

    We congratulate our SKOS colleagues on a truly impressive achievement.

    Sharing Vocabularies on the Web via SKOS

    June 18, 2008

    The effectiveness of the Semantic Web (SemWeb) will be heavily dependent on the ability of computers to reason and communicate using controlled vocabularies. When the SemWeb arrives, it will have an impact on all users and designers of Web-based systems, Internet and intranet alike. Since SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) will underlie so much SemWeb functionality, it’s in the interests of everyone who designs or uses knowledge organization systems to know about it.

    SKOS is the name given to a family of standards being created to express the semantic structure of controlled vocabularies (thesauri, classifications, subject headings etc.) so that they can be accessed and interpreted by programs and services. As a draft Web standard, SKOS Reference provides a data model that can be used as a vehicle for the development, use and sharing of knowledge organization systems across information sectors and within the Semantic Web framework.

    Aware of the growing importance of SKOS, the British Chapter of the International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO UK) in cooperation with the School of Library, Archives and Information Studies at UCL has invited a group of experts to introduce this standard, explain its status, potential and scope. Our speakers are involved in the development and application of SKOS and related standards and are hoping to provoke some interesting discussion.

    Members of the W3C Semantic Web Deployment Working Group, Alistair Miles and Antoine Isaac will explain the role of SKOS in the Semantic Web, the ideas behind SKOS and the way it is intended to function. The convenor of BSI committee IDT/2/2/1 Stella Dextre Clarke and collaborators Leonard Will and Nicolas Cochard will discuss the data model of the recently developed BS 8723 standard known as DD8723-5, focusing on its relationship with SKOS and interoperability issues. Ceri Binding and Douglas Tudhope from University of Glamorgan will present their AHDS-funded Semantic Technologies for Archaeological Resources project, raising issues for practical applications of SKOS and SKOS-based terminology web services.

    This event, the third in ISKO UK’s KOnnecting KOmmunities series, promises a fascinating glimpse of the future of controlled vocabularies. No one involved or interested in the development, management or implementation of controlled vocabularies can afford to miss it.


    Title: Sharing Vocabularies on the Web via Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS)

    Date & time: 21 July 2008 from 14:00 – 19:00 (registration starts at 13:30)

    Venue: University College London, Engineering Faculty, Roberts Building G06, Sir Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre

    Cost: 20 GBP (students and ISKO members free!)

    Book your place now on the ISKO UK web site, and we’ll see you in July!

    SKOS-based Semantic Terminology Services

    April 22, 2008

    {distilled from a posting by Doug Tudhope (University of Glamorgan) to the SKOS mailing list}
    The STAR project has developed a pilot set of semantic web services, based upon the SKOS Core data model for thesauri and related knowledge organization systems. The services currently provide term look up across the thesauri held in the system, along with browsing and semantic concept expansion within a chosen thesaurus. This allows search to be augmented by SKOS-based vocabulary and semantic resources (assuming the services are used in conjunction with a search system).

    In combination with a search system, the services allow queries to be expanded (automatically or interactively) by synonyms or by expansion over the SKOS semantic relationships. Expansion is based on a measure of ‘semantic closeness’. Anyone interested is welcome to inspect the API or download a client demonstrator, which is currently configured to operate with a subset of English Heritage thesauri.

    The work is ongoing and the researchers welcome any feedback or interest in collaboration on developing an API to support a rich range of SKOS use cases.

    Downloads and further details can be found at the Hypermedia Research Unit web site.