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

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Mike Champion wrote:
> --- 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!

Sure. I think semweb folks would argue that graphs are a more 
flexible/decentralised approach than relational databases - for 
starters you'd think it'd be easier to merge two RDF graphs than two 
db schemas. Fwiw, I think a lot of this semweb/ont stuff will 
initially get traction behind the firewall.

> 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.

I'd agree in general - 'low-tech' approaches like foaf/geourl can 
help in specialized areas (such as blogs). A key issue with this 
stuff will the same as it was in the 1980s, keeping down the cost of 
entering quality data.

Bill de hÓra


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