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bags of axioms

From: Matthew Pocock <matthew.pocock@ncl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2007 12:32:31 +0000
To: public-owl-dev@w3.org
Message-Id: <200710311232.31360.matthew.pocock@ncl.ac.uk>

Hi,

We've started moving quite sizeable amounts of OWL 1.1 xml about via web 
services. We're currently doing this by pushing an OWL:Ontology element 
inside the SOAP body. We are having problems with the 'semantics' of the 
ontology element itself, and by extension, how the tools we are using handle 
ontologies as data-structures.

Through having logical and physical URIs, the ontology elements are making 
some sort of statement that they are a recognisable set of axioms, that exist 
for some purpose, and so on. The axioms we are moving about are either 
sub-sets of the axioms within an ontology with a known logical URI, or are a 
sub-set of the entailment of the axioms within an ontology with a known 
logical URI. They are not in themsevles a cohesive whole of axioms, but 
rather more like incremental updates, deltas. In particular, it makes no 
sense at all to give them a physical URI. The role fulfilled by the logical 
URI for 'real' ontologies is also somewhat moot in this context - what 
defines the bag of axioms in our case is the original ontology, and the 
assertion that these are a (possibly arbitrary) sub-set of the entailment of 
that ontology, possibly with extra information defining bounds on what made 
it into the sub-set. Our system allows a certain amount of slop in what gets 
passed over the wire, within defined bounaries, so two identical requests 
against an identical service may legitimately return different sets of 
axioms, without the requester becomming confused or behaving differently. 
Hence, the only thing that uniquely identifies the set of axioms is the set 
of axioms itself.

So, the things we are moving about:

a) have no physical location, ever (they are generated by software, streamed, 
consumed by software)

b) have no logical URI that identifies them, or any other identifier smaller 
than themselves

c) are a sub-set of the axioms entailed by some other ontology, which does 
have a logical URI

Is there some other top-level element other than Ontology that better fulfills 
these needs?

If not, is there some standard way to indicate to tools that the ontology has 
no physical or logical URI, but is a) a sub-set of the axioms in another 
ontology or b) the axioms entailed by another ontology or c) a sub-set of the 
axioms entailed by another ontology?

Thanks,

Matthew
Received on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 12:32:50 GMT

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