[foaf-dev] foaf:Person vs crm:E21.Person

Dan Brickley danbri at danbri.org
Thu Jun 4 17:59:47 CEST 2009

On 4/6/09 16:59, Marco Neumann wrote:
> Hi foaf team,
> I am modeling with an ontology for the cultural and natural heritage
> domain. We use a class called crm:E21.Person to achieve something
> similar to what foaf:Person gives us.
> I am contemplating to make one class a subclass of the other. The crm
> community prefers to make foaf:Person a subclass of crm:E21.Person. Or
> should we consider equivalence between the two class?
> http://www8.informatik.uni-erlangen.de/IMMD8/Services/cidoc_crm/docu/081216/classesE/21.Person.html

Hey Marco,

In an idea world, you shouldn't need to ask. Just read the human and 
formal documentation for the two classes, and try to find corner cases 
that fit in one class but not the other. That should give you your answer.

Here's CRM's E21:

"This class comprises real persons who live or are assumed to have 
lived. Legendary figures that may have existed, such as Ulysses and King 
Arthur, fall into this class if the documentation refers to them as 
historical figures. In cases where doubt exists as to whether several 
persons are in fact identical, multiple instances can be created and 
linked to indicate their relationship. The CRM does not propose a 
specific form to support reasoning about possible identity. Examples: 
Tut-Ankh-Amun, Nelson Mandela."

And here is FOAF's Person:

via http://xmlns.com/foaf/spec/#term_Person
"The foaf:Person class represents people. Something is a foaf:Person if 
it is a person. We don't nitpic about whether they're alive, dead, real, 
or imaginary. The foaf:Person class is a sub-class of the foaf:Agent 
class, since all people are considered 'agents' in FOAF."

Pretty much the same approach. FOAF sounds somewhat more liberal though, 
as it admits fictional people. So you could use it for example when 
describing characters in a drama - this was done for example in the SUDS 
experiments by BBC people, modelling Eastenders. See also 
http://www.r4isstatic.com/?p=18 for more discussion.

Since crm:e21.Person is smaller than foaf:Person, since it doesn't 
include fictional and imaginary people, it would be natural to express 
that in terms of e21 being the sub-class. Of course in your application 
you might chose to insulate yourself from all this and define your own 
classes directly by reference to CRM and FOAF. That's of course fine too!



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