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   RE: A Light Rant On Ontological Commitment

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  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • To: Martin Bryan <mtbryan@sgml.u-net.com>, xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 16:50:41 -0600

Earlier I asked:

1.  How is the record created?
2.  How is the record attested?
3.  By what tests (observable behaviors) 
    do we measure commitment?
4.  By what means do we initiate or 
    terminate such commitment?

To provide some thoughtMunchies for the first of the 
two questions I posed, here is an extract from 

"Conceptual Modeling for Distributed Ontology Environments" 
by Deborah L. McGuinness, Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist, 
Stanford University, Knowledge Systems Laboratory 

Ms. McGuiness provides some operational guidelines 
for creating and maintaining ontologies.  Note that part 
of what I am chasing here is the problem of authority 
for an ontology.  Establishing authority precedes 
the ontological commitment (the contract to abide 
by an ontology and behave accordingly).  Operational 
guidelines are important to establishing the 
credibility of the proposed authority. Ms McGuiness 
proposes the following operational guidelines:

"Articulate anticipated ontology usage as well as expected user profiles. 

Use a controlled vocabulary that is familiar to users if one exists. 

Specify mappings between multiple standard controlled vocabularies if
vocabularies are standard in the domain(s) of interest. 

Allow for user extensibility of the mappings (thus, support users in adding 
new synonyms into a thesaurus). 

Allow for controlled vocabulary extensions. 

Provide supporting mechanisms such as query expansion in search to help 
facilitate sub-class matches. 

Specify semantics of terms. 

Provide semantic retrieval instead of just syntactic retrieval. 

Provide additional structural retrieval methods such as sibling retrieval
and analysis. 

Provide partition extensibility. 

Specify domains and ranges of roles (for example, the domain of
is "person" and the range is "country"). 

Specify inverse relationships between roles (for example,
"leader-of-country" is 
the inverse of "country-has-leader"). 

Specify active inferences to infer constraints between role values (for
"shipping-weight" is greater or equal to the "actual-weight"). 

Specify conversion rules for presenting different views of fillers for
(for example, provide a rule that can calculate a filler for the price role
in German Marks 
if a price filler is known in United States Dollars and a multiplier is

Provide some sort of markup language to allow knowledge engineers and users
to prune out 
roles for certain presentation (and explanation) views. 

Incorporate an ontology merging tool into the environment. 

Employ focus of attention techniques to help assist humans in their analysis

Provide a diagnostic tool set that analyzes provably incorrect information. 

Provide a diagnostic tool that suggests possible problems. 

Provide a critique analysis that suggests potentially better representation
Provide a version control mechanism. 

Provide support for extending upper and lower level ontologies. 

Make conventions explicit on how the ontology is constructed and how one 
should make extensions - including naming conventions, organizational
what new levels mean (and when they should be added or deleted), when
are used and how they are added/modified), etc."

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

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


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