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   Re: [xml-dev] A Few Thoughts on an Ontology as a Self Organizing System

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--- Bill_de_hÓra <bill.dehora@propylon.com> wrote:

>  And unfairly, I could twist your
> argument as being 
> equally against relational data, though I'm sure
> that's not your  intention :)

Uhh, not my intention, but the comparison is apt. 
Relational data assumes that field values are from a
domain of well-defined types, and a well-defined type
is something very closely related to an ontology,
AFAIK.  RDF-ish ontology / inference systems can model
semantic networks in a more natural (to ordinary
folks) way than relational normalization and joining,
but that's an implementation detail :-)  So, I don't
see much *conceptual* difference between "improve
search by building ontologies" and "improve search by
modelling all your concepts in relations", although I
presume the semantic web will be more web-friendly!

> But think about FOAF, or calendaring - search
> engines may be good at 
> determining the relative importance of some chunk of
> data, but they 
> just couldn't begin to provide the sort of
> information a naive graph 
> walker or inference engine could, given a set of
> foaf graphs, iCal,  and a party to organize.

Sure, I agree.  So long as one is talking about using
a relatively small amount of hand-generated metadata
to make inferences about, or remove or resort the mass
of autmatically indexed data that a search engine
uses, I have no quarrel.  I just don't have much faith
in the idea that that ontologies or hand-authored
metadata in general can do the brunt of the work in
searching the web.


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