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

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  • From: Martin Bryan <mtbryan@sgml.u-net.com>
  • To: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>, xml-dev@lists.xml.org
  • Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 17:05:19 +0000

Simon St Laurent

>I'm deeply unhappy, however, with
> the strange visions of a Grand Unified Information Model (GUIM) they seem
> to produce in some people.  I'd like to take something of an Extreme
> Programming view on this project, evolving vocabularies and architectures
> from pieces which we can make work today without nearly as much concern
> the larger vision set forth in the various requirements of the GUIM.  I
> don't think it will lead us directly to the GUIM, but it might let us get
> more work done in the meantime.

Agreed, but its not the GUIM that is the problem - it is the ease with which
XML lets people reinvent the wheel without looking at what has been done
before. What we need to do it to identify the relationships between the
semantics of existing set of elements and then try to converge them. This
has to be a slow process, but first you've got to define what the semantics
you are currently using are. Without some form of ontological framework this
is difficult.

>Developing standards which work locally seems like enough of a challenge,
and developing standards which work globally seems like a project better
left for future development, after we've figured out what might make sense
in the less costly though perhaps less-inspiring world of local
communications and understandings.

Depends on your view of locally. Here in Europe we are trying to create a
Single Market. The problem is that this single market is multilingual and
multi-industry. CEN/ISSS has groups working on ontologies for engineering,
medical supplies, furniture manufacture, shoes, ... There are significant
amounts of overlap in these ontologies, but no knowledge of what each other
has done or is doing. Trying to get them to stop reinventing the wheel is a
real problem.

Martin Bryan

Martin (The Opium Eater) Bryan


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