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   Re: [xml-dev] Issues with XML and Semantic Web ?

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Michael Champion wrote:

> ...
> If so, this is a very interesting question.  First, Ontologies are
> unlikely to get much traction, IMHO, as long as they are called
> "ontologies", and one is forced to be conversant with formal
> semantics, formal logics, etc. in order to use them in an enterprise
> IT project.   Somehow this approach has to be repackaged in a way that
> rests cleanly on the foundation of  semantic web theory/technology,
> but exposes only those concepts (and terminology) that are accessible
> to ordinary mortals.

You are probably correct. One way to think about it is the fact that 
UML is basically a subset of "OWL" (the formal part) --- more 
concretely that OWL (the language) is an excellent way to write down 
UML models.

Of course this leads us to ask whether UML it either a) useful or b) 
accessible to ordinary mortals :-)

In any case, people who are already conversant in UML should find OWL 
not so intimidating.

> Second, somehow the process of building usefully large but consistent
> enterprise ontologies must be made more feasible.  I'm not sure how
> possible this is in principle (GoŽdel had something to say along these
> lines?)  but presumably most enterprises have enough structured
> information in their glossaries, data dictionaries, business
> processes, and existing IT operations that can be captured and
> usefully reasoned about .... given time.  Technology can only automate
> the tedium of humans doing, not take garbage in and spit consistent
> ontologies out.   Will technologies that effectively support what
> humans need to  do to make this happen come onto the market?  I see
> some hopeful signs, but I don't think Protege even comes close to
> being useful to the kinds of people who will have to do this in the
> mainstream world.

This is the: tools will solve the problem idea.

> Third, if ontology-building is a top-down approach to supporting
> semantics, there's a question of whether the bottom-up approach of
> making sense of things by induction will actually work better.  (The
> eternal induction vs deduction debate ...).  See, for example
> http://www.eetimes.com/article/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=51201131
> 'Sony Computer Science Laboratory is positioning its "emergent
> semantics" as a self-organizing alternative to the W3C's Semantic
> Web'.  The bottom-up approaches (e..g. the Google approach to web
> serarch, the SpamBayes approach to spam filtering) seems to be awfully
> good at hitting 80:20 points in the real world while the top-down
> approaches are still research projects.  I am personally convinced
> that the bottom-up approach will continue to rule in massively
> unstructured domains such as the web and email; I'm not so sure that
> the top-down ontology building might not be more efficient in
> situations where there is a lot of semantic structure (e.g. enterprise
> IT shops) but it just has to be captured and exploited.

I've said this before, but I personally believe that some way to 
combine the two is the key.

We are seeing more and more emphasis on semi structured search 
technologies melding the desktop and web: e.g. iTunes, Amazon and 
perhaps what Google intends for the desktop.



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