[rdfweb-dev] Another relationships proposal

Danny Ayers danny666 at virgilio.it
Sat Mar 20 10:30:47 UTC 2004

[After typing this I realised that I'd not allowed for the case where 
people would like say they are e.g. sisters where there is only a 
cultural tie. This is probably more desirable than the biologically 
derived version I've got below, so basically I've changed my mind... 
Maybe all the derived terms could be prefixed, e.g. bioSister..?]

I've kept clear of discussions on this so far, but I just thought maybe 
it was time to interject a cliche and pretend to be contributing: there 
seem to be several different facets to what's being modelled, so isn't 
it possible to divide and conquer?

First off, at the top there's a common pattern that is saying A 
isRelatedTo B (naming is another facet ;-)

Then I'd suggest there's the biological relationships - it could be 
(parent+gender) or (mother | father) . The latter seems a better bet, 
there is a cultural angle on gender. I would be tempted to include 
parent as a common superproperty - forget the cultural interpretation, 
just define rel:parent as *biological* mother or father.

I think those two relationships (motherOf, fatherOf) together with a bit 
of logic should be enough to allow modelling of all biological 
relationships. Sure, things like brother and aunt might be useful in the 
vocab as shorthand for typical (predominantly Western) familial 
relationships, but if these are derived from the basic relationships 
then there may be cases where e.g. the cousin in the real world wouldn't 
match rel:cousin - not a problem, the terms used are only really names 
for the properties, they don't have to coincide 100% with reality.

So on the biological branch of isRelatedTo I'd suggest a base of:


which can be filled out with more culture-specific terms that will cover 
most of the current (Western) usage, derived from the 'pure' biological :


A brotherOf B
X parentOf A
X parentOf B

This doesn't mean you can't model relationships found in other cultures, 
just that the shorthand terms are there to simplify things in the 
majority of current cases.
Other kinds of relationships, such as work-related and friendships could 
appear in entirely separate branches below isRelatedTo.

[I give up.]



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