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  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • To: xmldev <xml-dev@lists.xml.org>
  • Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 10:37:11 -0600

It gets difficult to follow this discussion.  Some 
definitions are introduced for the term "ontology" 
such that others not engaged on a daily basis might 
follow.  If these are not the local understanding 
for ontology, please comment.  I am interested in 
how RDF and Topic Maps meet the requirements of 
these definitions. 

These are extracted from


where in an ontology, 

"definitions associate the names of entities in the universe of discourse 
(e.g., classes, relations, functions, or other objects) with 
human-readable text describing what the names mean, and formal 
axioms that constrain the interpretation and well-formed use of 
these terms".


"a common ontology defines the vocabulary with which queries 
and assertions are exchanged among agents"

Note the notion of the "ontological commitment" 

"Ontological commitments are agreements to use the shared 
vocabulary in a coherent and consistent manner."

In the web services paradigm I would equate "agreement" 
to the action of *signing* the contract for the semantic service and 
therefore, to act in accordance with the definitions 
in the ontology.   A service is tested to ensure quality 
and to validate the negotiated terms and conditions for use.

Note the principal of behavior, or observable actions as a means 
to test commitment: 

"an agent commits to an ontology if its observable actions are 
consistent with the definitions in the ontology"

which makes the notion of testing, or contraints, important. 
In previous mails, I have emphasized the strategy of "tit for tat" 
in negotiation or remediation over more complex systems.  For 
coarse transactions that use semantic services, remediation 
might use the semantic service as part of the explanation 
for the necessity of remediation prior to enacting the 
remediation.  The authority of the definitions is attested 
by the ontological commitment as governing the transaction.

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti.
Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h


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