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Category vs. property
Classification of articles using categories and properties
Image / Video collection
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MediaWiki provides the [[Category: ...]] annotation as means to organize (or categorize) individual articles.

Categories and properties

Semantic MediaWiki provides an additional classification entity type, the property, and it assumed best practice to use a category (or class) to describe a domain of things (classification of individuals into groups which share common characteristics) while an individual member of a class (a single page, article) is to be described by different attributes (properties) to denote its content (where it belongs, what it possess etc.) and the instance itself.

  • Category to divide content into groups that share similar characteristics
    • a class or group of things, people, etc., possessing some quality or qualities in common;
    • a division in a system of classification (e.g. hierarchies)
  • Property is to describe individual characteristics of a class member
    • belongs to a group of ...
    • has attribute ...,
    • is a ... (could also be interpret as category in a semantic context),
    • it possess ...,
    • is a member of ...,
    • is known as ...

Using hierarchies

  • Subcategory can be used to further circumscribed members of a class which are to share common characteristics
  • Subproperty

Content classification but how?

There is no general one size fits all best practice approach on how to classify content since it depends on what the content is expected to represent and to whom it is aimed for but some rule of thumb can be applied:

  • The broadest of all classification systems is the namespace which can be used to divide content into a large group of similar content (e.g. Help, Demos, Examples etc.)
  • Categories as mentioned above, allow to distinguish content in terms of shared characteristics (e.g a car is not the same as a bicycle even though both can be used for transportation; a car is a motor vehicle and belongs to the group of vehicles; it depends on the aspect and the intent of the classification is to represent)
  • Properties are to describe individual characteristics of an instance (e.g. the car has the color green, the bicycle has the color blue, the bicycle is owned by John etc.)

Whether content should be classified using a category or to be described by a property also depends on the granularity a user wishes to express and the classification size (annotating ten pages with one category requires a different effort compared to two pages with ten properties).


See also