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Topic has Category:OntologyElement and is an element of Topic


Name: Topic

Type: owl:Class

Description: A topic, or subject, argument, domain, theme, subject area, etc.

Topics have a controversial intuition across common sense, document management systems, knowledge organization systems, etc.

There is an interesting duality of topics: they are commonly interpreted as areas of shared knowledge within a Community (therefore as collections of social objects). On the other hand, existing directories and thesauri use 'topic' (or 'subject') more restrictively, as a relation between a document and a concept.

For example, thesauri do not usually distinguish when their 'concepts' (cf. skos:Concept) are actually intended as concepts (in the sense of Concept in this pattern) and when they are intended as topics. The distinction is clear when you compare these two sample sentences: 'the football topic is part of the sport topic' vs. 'the concept of football is part of the concept of sport'.

While the first is perfectly acceptable, the second is counterintuitive and even possibly wrong. This effect is due to the fact that concepts are 'intensional' notions and are not intended as areas of knowledge, document spaces, etc., which are 'extensional' notions.

Accordingly to these basic observations, in this pattern Concept and Topic result to be disjoint, and an appropriate representation should be in place in order to model thesauri. E.g. skos:Concept should be mapped to the union of Concept and Topic.

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