W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > February 2006

Re: Unstructured vs. Structured (was: HL7 and patient records in RDF/OWL?)

From: Wafik Farag <Wafik@Farag.net>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2006 19:22:19 -0500
Message-ID: <006101c630fc$ba7db450$0400a8c0@WFB100>
To: "Jim Hendler" <hendler@cs.umd.edu>, "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>

>At 14:46 -0600 2/13/06, Pat Hayes wrote:
>>>The point I'm trying to make is this: The concept of "structuredness" is
>>>relative and context-sensitive.
>>Hear, hear. Well said.
>>Pat Hayes

I second that.  Yong revived an important point.  In the SW October meeting 
a year+ ago the importance of "context" was put on the short list of 
important follow-ups.  I haven't kept up .. but I am sure progress must have 
been made.  How RDF/OWL /ontology operate in different contexts and still 
link to each other.

Many clients find that context helps bring a solution.  One example where a 
client receives 10-100's of spreadhseets on a daily basis.  The key that 
helped model a solution was using context to upload and join among the many 
spreadsheets to diagnose the behavior of the patients through data gathered 
from different scenrios.  Context played a key role.  Each spreadhseet was 
captured during a context and the analysis was to extract factors that 
affected the behaviour.  In this case the complexity was in the variety of 
contexts though the same construct (spreadsheet) came from and how to 
intgerate together (semantic and data) to find the affecting features.

With the existance of many constructs like XML, HTML, RDF/OWL, relation 
table (as in relational databases), excel sheet, text, etc a context is what 
makes the ability to "glue" integarte all these constructs in syntax and 
semantics together to extract information.
I am sure that more new constructs are being imagined on how to store and 
capture information.  Many of these constructs are not going away - like 
data in relational databases!!!  As I understood, one of the key benefits of 
SW is how to "link" all together.

>FWIW, Structured, unstructured and semi-structured, although non-precise 
>concepts in common language and (esp) philosophy, have well-defined and 
>precise meanings in database
>jargon" -- most database books have decent definitions that are consistent 
>  unstructured - NL text
>  semi-structured - unstructured fields within a structured DB context
>  structured - relational model (or similar)
>(those papers with technical definitions tend to get ugly and recourse to 
>relational calculus, so these overly simplified definitions should suffice 
>for now)

>>Well, OK, but those categories don't exhaust the possibilities. What about 
>>NL text with RDF-based XML markup? What about XHTML with RDF markup? What 
>>about common logic text? What about free text that has an associated 
>>lexicon which is linked to concepts described by an OWL ontology?

At the integration consortium  http://www.integrationconsortium.org/ some 
intersting discussions revolve around that.
I view the definition of level of Unstructured vs. Structured makes it 
easier to understand how well or easy is it to link or integrate one 
construct to another construct.  I guess that is why levels of 
"structuredness" have been created within each organization to identify the 
scale of complexity of integrating two constructs.  I am not aware of any 
standard around that yet?  So one finds three levels in one group and 
another organization sees them as seven levels!!  I guess it is 

Received on Tuesday, 14 February 2006 00:22:11 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 14:52:25 UTC