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   RE: local, global (was various ontology, RDF, topic maps)

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  • From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
  • To: Uche Ogbuji <uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com>,"Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>
  • Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 10:56:10 -0600

I am not an ontologist.  I can't even play one.  
Carol Ellerbeck has the background and made the 
following post to my queries about authority 
awhile back.  I repost here for a sanity check.
She makes the same point about closed systems.  
On the other hand, Simon and Walter make valid 
points about the problems of lots of local 
systems summing a decision based on locally 
correct but globally conflicting assertions. 
OTOH, isn't that why we have Topic Maps and 
RDF, such that, like XML, at least the basic 
framework is shared and you can try to chase 
down the noisy sources?  

Carol sez:  "I am afraid that authority is established through respect.  A
system is
defined for a certain group of users and guidelines for usage are
established.  Those using the system mutally agree to respect the guidelines
(or they create their own system).

And jargon DOES have to be incorporated into the system, no question.  But
how this gets done depends on the system you create (which should
distinguish between use of a "taxonomy" and use of a "thesaurus").

Finally, faceted classification schemes can be used to handle fuzziness and
inter-domain associations (the taxonomy dictates the facets but those facets
can be flexibly combined in many ways to create associations; you are not
locked into a rigid system - - in my mind, the only way to go on the web

By the way, TimBLs speech about the Semantic Web and the 
slides are available from Dr Dobb's Technet.  I found the 
slides easier to comprehend.  In accordance with Shannon's 
clear observations, he also notes this is a machine bound 
system, not a universal semantic.   Much of this thread 
has been devoted to illuminating concerns about how to 
establish trusted interoperation.

Then we can talk about the costs.  Traditionally, these 
things are expensive beasties and that really does raise 
the spectre of propriety just as a lot of DTDs developed 
in industry were declared private IP despite the fact that 
usually makes their utility almost zero.  I suspect we 
will see a lot of volunteer work on ontologies and well 
as private and public funding for such.  Our concern should 
be to establish quality constraints and clarify a model 
for fielding these that cleanly fits into the services 
paradigm.  That can make costs recoverable and cleanly 
answers questions about the means by which an ontological 
commitment is established.

Len Bullard
Intergraph Public Safety

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

-----Original Message-----
From: Uche Ogbuji [mailto:uche.ogbuji@fourthought.com]

I myself have mentioned many times that my observations apply to closed
systems and that I don't claim any insight into how to make something like
a semantic Web work.  My perception is that Len, Martin and Jonathan don't
make much more radical claims.

I'm still quite interested in hearing the whole "semantic Web" story.  I'm
sorry I missed the XML 2000 session because I'd like to learn what the
true ambition is, and the practical developments required before it can be


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