Forums: Index > Watercooler > "Concepts"

NB: Later discussion is on Forum:Concepts, but this page is still a good introduction.

Prior to Semantic MediaWiki, we had been using Categories to track data we were interested in. For example we were doing things like Category:Born in Virginia. Concepts do the same thing without the bother of adding these categories to each article. Perhaps just as importantly, the results are all visible to the user, and they do not have to go searching through each of the subcategories. That is, in the example above, one would have to search through each of the counties of Virginia to see everyone born in Virginia. That is a lot of bother for users. They want to see it in one place, and Concepts does that for them (as long as every article has "Virginia" noted in the right place - though we may eventually organize coding so that a county entry is enough).

Previously, if a user was interested in a new category, they would have to understand how templates or bots worked in order to automatically add them to all the affected articles. That presented a significant barrier to even fairly sophisticated users.

Now, a researcher of the medieval genealogy could easily add a concept that tracked the deaths of individuals in particular defunct provinces of the Frankish Empire. For instance, see Concept:Died in Austrasia. This enumerates the known locations inside the province of Austrasia (there are probably more), and constrains the period of time to the years that Austrasia existed. Note that entities that expanded or contracted could also be handled by adding further periods with smaller or larger lists of locations, all OR'd together.

This points out the core skill that each moderately skilled Familypedian will need to have. Before they even think of learning how to use templates without the assistance of forms, they probably need to understand how a query works. If they can handle that, then they can create their own concepts, and their own queries at the Semantic search page.

If that is so, then we will need some much more friendly documentation than the stuff we have for Help:Inline queries. You know, something without all the jargon of "parser function" this, and "caching mechanism" that. That will probably be a frequently used piece of documentation. ~ Phlox 04:46, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Brilliant. A concept is a set of properties, right? rtol 05:49, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Not just properties but categories and other concepts. You can put in anything you can put in a query because that is what it really is- an entity expressed as a query. Also, Concepts can be used in queries just like properties. ~ Phlox 00:41, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Contributors will also be able to explicitly indicate place names such as defunct entities in the "places-other" field. The method described above is more complex, but will retroactively pick up any articles that were not explicitly encoded with the historic name. ~ Phlox 18:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)