Issue 463: Scope note of E37 Mark

ID: 
463
Starting Date: 
2020-01-17
Working Group: 
3
Status: 
Open
Background: 

Posted by Martin on 17/1/2020

Dear All,

There were questions about the level of abstraction of E37 Mark. Therefore I rewrite, following the relevant discussions when this class was defined. The argument was that it should directly link to the codes that are used in museum documentation for (registered) marks.

Old scope note:

Scope note:         This class comprises symbols, signs, signatures or short texts applied to instances of E24 Physical Human-Made Thing by arbitrary techniques in order to indicate the creator, owner, dedications, purpose, etc.

 This class specifically excludes features that have no semantic significance, such as scratches or tool marks. These should be documented as instances of E25 Human-Made Feature. 

NEW

Scope note:         This class comprises symbols, signs, signatures or short texts applied to instances of E24 Physical Human-Made Thing by arbitrary techniques in order to indicate the creator, owner, dedications, purpose, etc. Instances of E37 Mark do not represent the actual image of a mark, but the abstract ideal, as they use to be codified in reference documents that are used in cultural documentation.

 This class specifically excludes features that have no semantic significance, such as scratches or tool marks. These should be documented as instances of E25 Human-Made Feature.
Can someone provide a relevant example from an authority document of marks?

Such as

Castagno, John. Old Masters: Signatures and Monograms, 1400–Born 1800. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1996.

Caplan, H. H. and Bob Creps. Encyclopedia of Artists' Signatures, Symbols & Monograms: Old Masters to Modern, North American & European plus More; 25,000 Examples. Land O'Lakes, FL: Dealer's Choice Books, 1999. 

Posted by Robert on 17/1/2020

Dear all,

I’m happy with the changes (modulo one typo, below), but would propose also that there should be clarification about the inclusion of “short texts” in a class that does not inherit from Linguistic Object. It seems strange to me that Mark would include “Made by RS in 1780”, when that is clearly text with a language. That would, IMO, need to be E37 Inscription if we wanted to talk about the content / meaning, rather than just the visual appearance of some symbols. Yet the scope note for Mark makes assertions about the intent, which implies a semantic understanding of the language encoded by the symbols.

Relatedly … as Inscription is a subclass of Mark, that means that all inscriptions are also Marks, and thus all inscriptions are to indicate the creator, owner, dedications, purpose etc.  Either the  “etc” covers all intents (at which point it is a worthless clause) or there are some texts that are inscribed on objects that do not count as inscriptions.

One of the examples for Inscription is “Kilroy was here” … that does not seem to fall under the definition of Mark, given the intent clause. Similarly the “Keep off the grass” sign example is to instruct the students of Balliol to not walk on the lawn. That seems very different from a Mark … yet it is one?

Finally, I think there is a minor typo in the new sentence. I think it should read:  … as they are used to codify the marks in reference documents …

(or something like that)

 

Posted by Daria Hookk 17/1/2020

Dear all,
about signes or symbols.
I have good example but for the moment difficult to propose some book in English. I continue to search.
http://www.kroraina.com/alan/olhovskij.html#4

Brixhe, C. 2012. Timbres amphoriques de Pamphylie. Alexandria.
or
Tzochev, C. 2016. Agora XXXVII. Amphora Stamps from Thasos. Princeton.

 

Posted by Ethan Gruber on 17/1/2020

Our examples from this particular use case: http://numismatics.org/pella/symbols and an example of how these are traditionally printed and referenced in monographs: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ubjkki2bebwvxs8/Seleucid%20Monograms%20Part%20... (note that we have symbols as well as monograms, which are more linguistic in origin).

I agree with Rob here about the conflation of Marks and Inscriptions. An Inscription can be a Mark, but I'm not sure I would say that all Inscriptions are Marks.

Posted by Martin on 17/1/2020

Dear Robert,

Yes, that is a good question!
For a very long time, we had no feedback to this part f the CRM.

Be careful not to inherit things upstream. If a Mark is also a Linguistic Object, then it is in particular an Inscription.
But a Mark needs not be an Inscriptions.

However, we must take care that the "non-Inscription marks" are not separated out as complement, because following all the discussions we had in the past, there are enough marks cannot be clearly distinguished from inscriptions.

So, the scope not should admit the existence of marks in this wider sense, which are not the codified monograms etc.

isn't it?

Posted by Robert Sanderson on 17/1/2020

I think that I agree. To be clearer about the inheritance that we’re discussing:

    A)  All Marks are Symbolic Objects
    B) All Linguistic Objects are Symbolic Objects
    C) All Inscriptions are Linguistic Objects
    D) All Inscriptions are Marks
    E) No Marks which are not also Inscriptions are Linguistic Objects

I believe the question is whether the last two assertions above are accurate.

For D, I would argue that the Balliol sign is not a Mark, as the symbolic content is not related to the intents given in the scope note, and thus either the scope note should be changed to remove the intents and be clearer about the nature of the class, or Inscription should not be a subclass of Mark.

For E, I would argue that if “short text” is included in the scope for the Mark class, then there must be some Marks that are Linguistic Objects as short text implies that the symbols encode some natural language. I think that the scope note should be changed to remove “short text” to avoid this issue. Marks should be explicitly NOT text and only symbols, and if there is a linguistic interpretation of the content, then they should instead be Inscriptions.

Hope that clarifies!

Posted by Ethan Gruber on 17/1/2020

I agree with your assertion of D: that not all inscriptions are marks.

I disagree with E. A mark can most certainly be a letter or combination of letters. Have you ever noticed the letter "P" on an American coin? It's a mint mark representing Philadelphia. The "SC" characters on a Roman coin correspond to the authority of the Senate. These are obviously linguistic objects that carry a narrower semantic meaning as defined in the scope note for E37 Mark.

Old Proposal: 

Posted by Martin on 18/1/2020

On 1/17/2020 7:39 PM, Дарья Юрьевна Гук wrote:
> Dear all,
> about signes or symbols.
> I have good example but for the moment difficult to propose some book in English. I continue to search.
> http://www.kroraina.com/alan/olhovskij.html#4
>
> With kind regards,
> Daria Hookk
>
> Senior Researcher of
> the dept. of archaeology of
> Eastern Europe and Siberia of
> the State Hermitage Museum,
> PhD, ICOMOS member
>
> E-mail: hookk@hermitage.ru
> Skype: daria.hookk
> https://hermitage.academia.edu/HookkDaria 
Dear Daria,
From this site may be we could use fig.5 :

Ossetian tamga Nr. 26 (after Jahtanigov H., 1993)

or fig.9:

Symbol-tamga Nr.2, Tiberius Julius Eupatoros (Fig. 9) (after Solomonik, E., 1959)

Posted by Øyvind on 18/1/2020

Dear all,

Given this answer to E is part of documentation practice, could it be solved by double instantiation?

Posted by Christian Emil on 18/1/2020

Dear all,

The discussion is interesting, I have been down with a cold and have not been able to comment earlier. Martin is right that this corner of CRM has not been much discussed the last 15 years.  The inheritance hierarchy is

E73 Information Object

    |                             \

E36 Visual Item            \

     |                                        \

E37 Mark             E33 Linguistic Object

     |                                   /

E34 Inscription

 

I start at the bottom  with E34 Inscription.  Although the class name should be considered a sign without semantic content, I found the OED definition quite clarifying:

“ Inscription… 2. concrete. That which is inscribed; a piece of writing or lettering upon something; a set of characters or words written, engraved, or otherwise traced upon a surface; esp. a legend, description, or record traced upon some hard substance for the sake of durability, as on a monument, building, stone, tablet, medal, coin, vase, etc.”

So an inscription is a linguistic object applied to (traced upon) something. This is the essence of the E34 Inscription except that being a subclass of E73 restructed to E36 Visual Item it is the abstract content and the abstract form/visual appearance and not the physical thing. An inscription need not to be short, e.g. the inscription of the law text found at Gortyn at southern Crete comprising about 640 lines of text. So the word ‘short’ should be deleted in the scope note of E37 Mark.

The class name “Mark” of E37 is clearly without semantic content since the word has long series of different meanings.

Comments to the new scope note:

The phrase “This class comprises symbols, signs, signatures or short texts applied to instances of E24 Physical Human-Made Thing by arbitrary techniques”  is fine and make all inscriptions instances of E37 Mark. 

The extra explanation/specification “in order to indicate the creator, owner, dedications, purpose, etc.” is too restrictive. A short description of a person’s life found on a Roman tomb stone or at a baroque epitaph or the law text from Gortyn are not created “in order to indicate the creator, owner, dedications, purpose”, may be in order to “etc.” In my view the phrase should be deleted and can be restated via examples.

The phrase “Instances of E37 Mark do not represent the actual image of a mark, but the abstract ideal” follows from the fact that E37 Mark is a subclass of E36 Visual Item and is not needed. May be a reformulation?         

The new scope note can be

"This class comprises symbols, signs, signatures or texts applied to instances of E24 Physical Human-Made Thing by arbitrary techniques. E37 Mark is a subclass of E36 Visual Item and thus Instances of E37 Mark do not represent the actual image of a mark, but an abstract ideal, as they use to be codified in reference documents that are used in cultural documentation. This class specifically excludes features that have no semantic significance, such as scratches or tool marks. These should be documented as instances of E25 Human-Made Feature."

 

To the A-E discussion

A and B, all marks and linguistic objects are instances of  E73 Information Object

C, D, E  yes to all.

 

Posted by Martin on 18/1/2020

I also disagree with E, but letters and combinations should not be regarded Linguistic Objects. They do not have a particular language, translation etc. No need to make them linguistic objects.

Posted by Martin on 18/1/2020

Dear Christian-Emil,

I agree with that. I prefer to be more verbose and add:

"often in order to indicate the creator, owner, dedications, purpose or public announcement",

But I would not insist on that.

Posted by Christian Emil on 18/1/2020

E37 Mark             E33 Linguistic Object

     |                                   /

E34 Inscription

​​E) No Marks which are not also Inscriptions are Linguistic Objects

The sentence is difficult to understand.  I try.
Pr defintion:
All (instances of E37) marks which are (instances of E34) Inscriptions are (instances of E33) Linguistic Objects.
The only difference between E34 Inscription and  E37 Mark is that E34 is a restriction of E37 Mark to those which also are  instances of  E33 Lingustic Object that is has a language.  Most sequences of letters and signs do not have a language. 

Posted by Martin on 18/1/2020

I understand the following:

This means, that there cannot be Linguistic Objects among the marks that are not inscriptions.

This violates the Open World assumptions. We know that Inscriptions are also Linguistic Objects, but that does NOT imply that there may be other Linguistic Objects among the Marks.

It is most probably the case, but we neither know for sure, nor make such statements in the CRM.

I also do not see a particular utility in this statement.

All other rules A-D provided by Robert  appear to be correct.

Posted by Christian Emil on 19/1/2020

I see your point, I have no problem with that and I have no intention to suggest that such a requirement should be added to some of the scopenotes. It is a meta interpretation of the model based on the scope notes not a part of the model as such.  if the part of a vusual sound track is depicted on a surface, then it may represent a linguistic object without being considered as atext

The inscription class itself depends on  how one defines 'text' (not easy) and with or without interpretation  'Ikke grin!' in Danish means 'Don't smile!' In Norwegian 'Don'cry!'. An engraving 'Ikke grin!​' is it one inscription, two inscrptions or no inscription (Mark) and simply a human made physical feature?

 

Posted by Daria  Hookk on 19/1/2020

Dear colleagues,
any sighes having meaning are Linguistic Objects, not only alphabetical but Egyptian too, cuneiform and even knots.

 

Posted by Martin on 19/1/2020

Dear Christian-Emi, all,

The answer to the crying smily (German roots "greinen" and "grinsen" are still distinguished) should be given by the epigraphy experts. What matters, is their good practice, if it is not conflicting with other disciplinary practices and basic ontological principles. I suggest Francesca and Achille to give us more insight. They are preparing the respective CRM extension for epigraphy, and we need a good interface to it. If necessary, we redesign these classes to their needs. 

Posted by Ethan Gruber on 19/1/2020

I disagree with changing scope note of Mark (removing indication of authority, purpose, etc.) because this fundamentally changes the semantic meaning of Mark, rendering my entire use case obsolete. 

The only real point of contention in my mind is whether Inscription is a subclass of Mark. It can be in some circumstances, but not in others. But I do think that an Inscription is universally a Linguistic Object. So I would suggest removing the Mark superclass from Inscription in the ontology itself. This still allows individual users to assign both the Mark and Inscription classes to objects within their own data.

Posted by Martin on 19/1/2020

Dear Daria,

Yes, there is a point about that.

Han characters are used in China, Japan, Korea. Very complex relations between meaning and phonetics. They do not form propositions.  Very different Chinese "dialects" agree on the same written form. The non-smoking sign is a proposition.

Do they belong to a language, or makes using them for a message following a language a linguistic object?

Clearly, only these languages can be encoded with Han characters. Japan and Korea using a hybrid system, adding phonetic characters.

But I'd suggest to make clear the distinction of a Propositional Object, its constituents, and language.

Posted by Robert on 20/1/2020

From a practical perspective, when modeling a short text that’s on a physical object … how can I know when that should be a Mark+Linguistic Object, or when it is an Inscription?

Posted by Ethan Gruber on 20/1/2020

A short text on a physical object is always an inscription. Whether or not it's a mark (according to the current definition in the ontology) probably depends on a greater level of specialized knowledge.

Posted by Christian Emil on 20/1/2020

Tje scope note of Mark says

"This class comprises symbols, signs, signatures or short texts applied to instances of E24 Physical Human-Made Thing​". According to my (fragementary) knowledge of English "applied" in this context will also cover  a text being a part of the glazing of a ceramic.  If we by mark restrict the class to physical changes in the overall surface like a relief, it should be stated. Also is a mark made by a stamp on wet clay before it is baked, a mark or just a part of the overall form?  What is human made besides the carved monograms on an originally smooth surface (https://lokalhistoriewiki.no/wiki/Fil:Monogrammer_Oscar_II_Vilhelm_II_ve...)?

My point is not to start an endless debate about details, we need good operational definitions of the three concepts: Linguistic Object, Inscription and Mark. 

Is a company logo applied to a paper by pen and ink a mark?

Is a greeting on the first blank page of a book given as a gift a mark?

Is a stamped signature in the glazing on a Japanese  vase a mark?

Does the thing it is applied to need to be a Human Made thing (e.g. a rune on base rock)? 

Most curators will include quite long CVs written on Roman tombstones in the collection of Latin inscriptions.

The Gortyn law text is by most considered to be an inscription

According to OED a greeting on the first blank page of a book given as a gift is an inscription (here I mix up language and formal definition).

I think the current definitions of the three classes are ok (with the removal of "short") The class E37 Mark need to be so general that all texts that are considered (by the cultural heritage sector) to be inscriptions are instances of E37 Mark.

Mark: This class comprises symbols, signs, signatures or texts applied to instances of E18 Physical Thing​ by arbitrary techniques, for example to  indicate the creator, owner, dedications, purpose, but also texts found on grave monuments.

Posted by Achille on 20/1/2020

Dear Ethan, all,

A small contribution to this interesting discussion. As mentioned by Martin, Francesca Murano and I have investigated the linguistic, physical and conceptual aspect of inscriptions and texts in recent years. Our work is oriented towards the construction of an extension of the CIDOC CRM for epigraphy and ancient texts (CRMtex, http://www.cidoc-crm.org/crmtex/), and we have published our reflections in two papers that I report below for anyone interested (you can also download them from here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CbsRXJ6SdG6JT_QjKmJ98vgklz7Jx4sR):

1. A. Felicetti, F. Murano, P. Ronzino, F. Niccolucci (2015) CIDOC CRM and Epigraphy: a Hermeneutic Challenge, Paola Ronzino and Franco Niccolucci (eds.): Extending, Mapping and Focusing the CIDOC CRM (CRMEX 2015) Workshop, 19th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL 2015), Poznan, Poland, September 17, 2015.

2. Felicetti, A., Murano, F., (2016), Scripta manent: a CIDOC CRM semiotic reading of ancient texts, «International Journal on Digital Libraries» 17/1, Springer, pp. 1-8, DOI: 10.1007/s00799-016-0189-z

In our works we have already highlighted the "weaknesses" of the E34 and E37 classes with respect to epigraphy (see paragraph 4.3 of paper 1 and 4.2 of paper 2), as highlighted by Christian-Emil, and proposed some possible solutions concerning the text and its nature. I paste some excerpts here, and I refer you to reading the papers for more information. Regarding the E34 class, we stated that:

"In CIDOC CRM, textual entities are conceived as immaterial, and essentially conceptual, entities. Both the classes E33 Linguistic Object and E34 Inscription belong to the domain of conceptual objects, defined as “non-material products of our minds and other human produced data”, something that renders only in part the essence of what a text is, not taking into account its ‘materiality’ which is a fundamental component of its identity”

We did similar considerations for E37. Thus, a written text in our perspective is defined as the product of a semiotic process, involving an encoding (“writing”) and a decoding (“reading”) process. The scope note for the Written Text class says that it is a … 

“… subclass of E25 Man-Made Feature intended to describe a particular feature (i.e., set of glyphs) created (i.e., written) on various kinds of support, having semiotic significance and the declared purpose of conveying a specific message towards a given recipient or group of recipients”

We have submitted a third paper on the subject to the Semantic Web Journal (special issue for Cultural Heritage) and is currently under review. I will also send you references of that if it is approved. Concerning the linguistic value of a text, an excerpt from it is reported below:
"Although every speech can be transposed into an equivalent written message, and vice versa, speech has a priority over writing, at least in four respects: phylogenetic, ontogenetic, functional and structural. In fact, all languages are spoken but not necessarily written; every human being learns to speak naturally spontaneously, the ability to write coming only later and through specific training; the spoken language is used in a wider and differentiated range of uses and functions; writing originated as a representation of speech. According to Ferdinand de Saussure [17], in fact, «a language and its written form constitute two separate systems of signs. The sole reason for the existence of the latter is to represent the former». In this semiotic perspective, it is worth considering that even in writing, as in the analysis of the linguistic system, it is necessary to distinguish the concrete level of the personal execution (i.e. the real act of tracing signs on a surface) from the abstract level which all the single occurrences must be took back to, on the basis of a sameness principle (e.g. the identification of an “A”, independently from the peculiar shape somebody gives to it).

This, as it is easy to understand, marks a decisive difference with the marks, in which the linguistic aspect is decidedly less marked, even in the presence of monograms and other similar symbols (which remain symbols without phonetic value, although using signs usually devoted to representation of sounds).

I hope this helps. However, we are convinced that a thorough revision of classes E34 and d E37 is absolutely necessary. Could this be a topic of discussion at the next SIG?

Posted by Martin on 20/1/2020

Dear Achille,

So, clearly,

This “… subclass of E25 Man-Made Feature intended to describe a particular feature (i.e., set of glyphs) created (i.e., written) on various kinds of support, having semiotic significance and the declared purpose of conveying a specific message towards a given recipient or group of recipients”

is a well justified class. It obviously is the carrier of a series of conceptual objects, one incorporating the other. It is not in the CRM, and not in any contradiction to E34 and E37.

It starts with the particular visual form, which incorporates its actual symbol arrangement, which incorporates the supposed original or intended symbol arrangement(eroded chars etc), which incorporates the expansion of abbreviations, which incorporates the propositional content, at least, this is the good practice in the CIL.

Then, we can identify E34 Inscription with one of those.

Then, we miss the generalization of the "Written Text" to any symbolic "marking", and the generalizations of E34 Inscription to the any such "marking" at the symbolic level. The latter is currently E37 Mark, regardless what people like "Mark" to be. A narrow definition of Mark, as Robert and Ethan suggests, would be a subclass of E37 Mark, and would need a new class code.
(Please do not confuse labels with definitions. Don't argue E37 must be something different, because it is called "mark".  You may instead argue for renaming E37...).

Does that make sense?

Posted by Achille on 21/1/2020

Dear Martin,

Yes, this makes perfectly sense to me.

I agree that it is necessary to define a complete chain linking the symbolic level with the physical one and I also agree that Mark and Robert are maybe chasing a new and more specific class, similar to our written text in some way. Such a new class, in my opinion, would be helpful to deal e.g. with non-linguistic or non-glottographic entities used to mark objects or other similar entities like graffiti.

My only doubt in the case of the E37 class is whether this is adequately defined to act as a superclass of all the others, existing or new ones(for example see the “shortness” specified as one of the characteristics of E37, as also noted by Christian-Emil). Aside from renaming it, which would be highly desirable as well 

Posted by Martin on 21/1/2020

Dear Achille, All,

Yes! A characteristic renaming would be "E37 Marks or Inscriptions". Anyway, we cannot leave a gap between Marks and Inscriptions. There are two principles: The being "marked", and the form of content. E37 is about the process of generation. E34 is about the content following the process. Another class for "marks in the narrower sense" would be morphological. That leaves a gap in the common kind of genesis.

We should be clear about that, and not intuitive.

Current Proposal: 

Posted by Martin on 11/6/2020

Dear All,

I revise the intent, following Robert's concerns that it may be interpreted as a restriction rather than as an illustration of typical use:

NEW

Scope note:         This class comprises symbols, signs, signatures or short texts applied to instances of E24 Physical Human-Made Thing by arbitrary techniques, often in order to indicate such things as creator, owner, dedications, purpose or to communicate information generally. Instances of E37 Mark do not represent the actual image of a mark, but the abstract ideal, as they use to be codified in reference documents that are used in cultural documentation.

 This class specifically excludes features that have no semantic significance, such as scratches or tool marks. These should be documented as instances of E25 Human-Made Feature.

Posted by Ethan Gruber 11/6/2020

Thank you for the clarification. I think this more closely aligns with how monograms, symbols, etc. are cataloged (as idealized representations).