Issue 542: Groups and carried out by

Starting Date: 
Working Group: 

Post by Robert Sanderson (16 June 2021) 

A recent discussion in the Linked Art group led to a question that we couldn't resolve about the nature of Groups with respect to activities.

It seems to us that there are some distinct use cases for Group, that have different implications for what is meant by an Activity is carried out by that Group.  

There is a formal or informal organization that can, as a single entity, be reasonably attributed with the carrying out of some activity. Some examples:

  • Offices -- The President of the US wrote an executive order. Assuming (surely incorrectly) that the president actually wrote the order rather than an aide, then only one actual Person did the work as there's only one member of the group at the time the activity was carried out. So having the knowledge of Joinings and Leavings of the Group, we would know exactly which person was involved.
  • Small, Named Groups --  "The Beatles" (E74 Group) carried out (p14) the performance (E7) of their song "Hey Jude" (Exx Auditory Item). Here it seems reasonable to attribute the performance to the group as a whole, rather than the individual members ... Ringo, Paul, George & John.  Attributing the Group doesn't let us know which individuals actually participated, but if we had the Joining and Leaving activities, we could calculate the possible participants with a reasonable assumption that they all participated to some degree.
  • Scriptorium of, Workshop of, Circle of, Studio of, ... -- The painting was created by the workshop of Rembrandt.  We know that some member(s) of the group carried out the activity, but also that not all members of the group did it, and the group is not necessarily "named", rather constructed.
  • Organizations -- The Getty published AAT. Here the attribution of the group seems reasonable, but there's no reasonable assumption that all members of the group had anything to do with the activity. We probably don't know who was involved, other than it's not everyone. So here carried out by is really "This was carried out by one or more contemporary members of the group in the name of the group"
  • Nationalities -- Arguable as to whether there is any coherent action of a nationality, but assuming that an election is such a thing, then "The US elected Joe Biden as President" definitely doesn't mean that all members, even members at the time of the activity, participated.
  • Cultures seem similar, with regards to carried out.
  • Subsets of Groups -- "Anonymous 17th Century Italians" seems to fall into the Nationality use -- 17th C Italians is a subset of Italians -- but the intent is that some small number of members of the group carried it out rather than some large number of members. 

This doesn't seem like a use for P14.1, as it's orthogonal to roles like "master craftsman" or "translator" or "illuminator". 

This also seems property rather than class specific: the ownership by a group is clear as to the nature of the participation. Saying that the Getty is current_owner_of a Painting really is The Getty as a legal entity, and absolutely not the current people employed there. 

So ...

Is there a need to distinguish the type of carried_out-ness further than we already have for Groups?  For example something like <Activity> Pxx_carried_out_by_member_or_members_of <Group> meaning that the group is standing for the set of possible actors that carried out the activity, as a subPropertyOf P14 ?

Thoughts?  (And no need to add this to the coming SIG agenda unless there's time and desire to discuss sooner rather than later)
Many thanks!


Post by Daria Hook (16 June 2021)

For the moment - only thoughts:

for example CRM-translation group.

Many nationalities, no real office, changing team, perodically pemanent activity, virtual result.

With kind regards,
Daria Hookk