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   Re: Schemata are not just constraints [was: "RDF + Topic Maps" = TheFutu

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  • From: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>
  • To: Eric van der Vlist <vdv@dyomedea.com>
  • Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 09:21:01 -0700 (MST)

> This is a point that I find worrying, since this move toward using
> schemata for what they are (schemas) that can lead to locking
> applications to specific schema technologies is happening while the
> number of alternatives is increasing...

I'm not so pessimistic about this.  Most technologies I've seen lately
that rely on schemata: RDF, SOAP, WSDL, ebXML, etc. have pluggable schema

I personally am a big fan of constraint-based schemata, which is wht
Schematron is my favorite XML validation technology.  I think it
represents the least hubris as to how well those of us without the eye of
Phoibos can predict the future of our data.  However, I do also sense that
ontologies need more, which was the basis of the reservations with which
I responded to Jonathan's message.

Then again, it depends on what you need from "ontology".  If, as I
think Martin Bryan suggests, you want a complete reasoning engine from
first principles, then you'd better be channelling Choamsky and
Wittgenstein and exorcising Deridda because you're gonna need a _lot_
more firepower than constraints, address _or_ subject identity.

What I mean by ontology, and I think Jonathan, is a tool that can perform
reasoning in a closed system where the semantic "terminals", so to speak,
have been fixed by reasoning humans.  In this case, I think a case can be
made that constraint mechanisms are sufficient, but I'm not convinced.

Uche Ogbuji                               Principal Consultant
uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com               +1 303 583 9900 x 101
Fourthought, Inc.                         http://Fourthought.com
4735 East Walnut St, Ste. C, Boulder, CO 80301-2537, USA
Software-engineering, knowledge-management, XML, CORBA, Linux, Python


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