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Re: Ontology modules and namespaces

From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2009 12:09:36 -0400
To: Simon Reinhardt <simon.reinhardt@koeln.de>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org, public-lod@w3.org
Message-Id: <1256573376.18179.1329.camel@dbooth-laptop>
On Mon, 2009-10-26 at 15:25 +0100, Simon Reinhardt wrote:

> It is becoming somewhat popular for large ontologies to be split into
> a core ontology file and module ontology files . . . . I want to
> explore the idea of just using one namespace shared between the core
> and the modules. 

My view: 

 - Regardless of whether a shared namespace is used, using the same
local name in multiple modules or ontologies that are *intended* to be
used together is not a good idea, as it causes user confusion.
Therefore local names should be centrally coordinated to avoid collision
*if* it is feasible to do so.  A wiki (or semantic wiki) can be very
helpful for this purpose.  As a set of ontologies gets really huge there
will come a day when this will become infeasible, because different
domains really will want to use the same local name in different ways,
but the longer that day can be postponed the better.

 - From a user's perspective, there is a tendency to forget which module
contains which term.  This argues in favor of a single, shared
namespace.  On the other hand, the benefit of having the ontology split
into modules is that one does not have to load modules that are not
needed.  However, the need to do this is far less common than the need
to use the terms in the ontology.  Therefore, IMO it is better for users
if all terms are place in the same shared namespace.

 - A shared namespace can (by default) resolve to a file containing the
entire ontology, but that same ontology can *also* be made available in
multiple files for those who want finer granularity of control over
which parts they choose to load.

David Booth, Ph.D.
Cleveland Clinic (contractor)

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.
Received on Monday, 26 October 2009 16:10:07 UTC

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