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Thursday, July 11, 2019, 10 AM US Eastern Time

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  1. Brian Lowe
  2. Anna Kaszprik
  3. Muhammed Hossein
  4. Mike Conlon


Ontology Interest Group Google Folder


  1. Updates
  2. Discussion of Early Thoughts on VIVO Subsumption Hierarchy
  3. Next meeting July 25.  Topic?

Google doc for notes:


  1. The group discussed the subsumption document.
  2. Regarding academic degrees. 
    1. There was concern about the assertion "academic degree is a document".  There seems to be two notions around the concept of an academic degree. 1) the degree is the output of an educational process.  The educational process might have a sub-process – the award process which clarifies that the award of a degree has multiple participants – institution conferring the degree, the recipient of the degree, the groups that might have approved/signed-off on elements of the degree.  For a doctoral degree this might include an advisor, members of a thesis committee, the graduate school, the editorial review, and others.  In this context, there is an artifact of the process, which is a document called and academic degree.  As with any document, there is the idea of the degree (FRBR, see below, calls this "the work"), and various manifestations, records, and copies of the degree document. 2) the change that occurs in the person who is the recipient of the degree.  There is a general notion that one that receives a PhD degree in musicology (for example), is not simply "the bearer of a degree in musicology" but rather "has become" a musicologist.  We might say simply Jane has recipient role in a degree award process with output of academic degree.  The award process has a date of conference, the degree has a type, perhaps subject matter. Figure 3 in Early Thoughts on Representing Academic Degrees favors the first notion and may not capture the distinction between an on-going process (a student role) and an award process (a recipient role).
    2. What of honorary degrees?  Seems these can be represented in a similar fashion in which the educational process is replaced with a selection process leading to the award of an honorary degree.
    3. What of other credentials?  Passports?  Certifications?  Licenses?  In each case, it seems there is a process by which the credential is awarded.  In each case there is an entity that confers the credential, and a recipient that receives/bears the credential.  In each case, there is record of the credential, and an artifact (digital or physical) of the credential.  In some cases, we use language to indicate a change in the recipient.  We say things such as "Jane is a licensed physician in the State of New York," or "LYRASIS is a registered non-profit in the State of Pennsylvania."  How do we know these assertions to be true?  There is evidence in the form of an artifact – a license, an incorporation document – resulting from a process in which the license or incorporation document was conferred.  These cases appear to have the same elements as the academic degree situation, but perhaps with a "scope" – Jane is licensed in New York, she may not be licensed elsewhere. 
    4. Academic Degrees have a "type" which indicates an area of mastery, but not a geographical scope.  Some countries have correspondences between degrees in their country and degrees of other countries.  But for VIVO, we may only be interested in the award of the degree – conferrer, date, "type".
  3. Regarding events
    1. Event is shown a process.  Some event types are also shown – performance, course.  Conference is a type of event.  But does event include software events such as messaging – a piece of software creates an event that is consumed by another piece of software?  CrossRef has scientometric events of this kind.  We may need to distinguish such "technical events" from "social events."  But are technical events in scope for VIVO?
  4. Regarding services
    1. Services are shown as processes.  But perhaps there are three kinds of things that are typically referred to as "service" 1) there is the act of providing service.  This would appear to be a process.  2) a document describing the service – in ERO, a service is asserted to be an information content entity.  This would appear to be this second notion of service, one that might be called a service description.  The provision of the service (a doctor performs a procedure on a patient) is the first notion.  A description of the procedure is the second notion. 3) A service offering, which may have a description or specification, and may or may not be realized.
    2. What defines a service as something distinct from any other process?  In an  economic sense, a service is performed by one party for the benefit of a second party.  The second party "pays" and the first party receives the payment.  Academic processes may involve payment, or other forms of exchange. 
    3. In the US, "service" for a faculty member at a university is typically "service to the profession" which broadly includes participation in editorial and review processes and leadership of the profession, and "service to the university" which includes committee and administrative work.  Clinical, consulting, and contracted services are other forms of service.  While universities lump all these together as "service" (as distinct from teaching and research), each of these might be quite different from an ontological view point.
  5. Regarding citations
    1. "What is a citation?"  Seems like a big gap in the subsumption hierarchy as citations are extremely important in the scholarly domain.
    2. Perhaps we could read or reread
      Shotton: CiTO, the Citation Typing Ontology. Journal of Biomedical Semantics 2010 1(Suppl 1): S6. doi:10.1186/2041-1480-1-S1-S6
    3. There is much to discuss in this paper.  Perhaps we can review it together next time.  Citation as an object property, citation counts, citation types, types of works, the FRBR model of documents.

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