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

From: Miller, Michael D (Rosetta) <Michael_Miller@Rosettabio.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 08:09:14 -0800
To: "Christopher Cavnor" <ccavnor@systemsbiology.org>, public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org
Message-ID: <E1F9PDk-0002KI-C4@maggie.w3.org>

Hi All,

my quick 2c

> I'd argue that most information resources are indeed 
> semi-structured. The
> human brain is only able to meta-categorize resources based on its
> structured aspects (markup and structural metadata), its informational
> content (its aboutness), and context (environmental metadata).

although many people don't admit it or don't realize it, the human brain
is also able to hold unstructured data and work at it until it finds
structure or it's replaced by a next load of sensory input.

there's a place in use cases for the semantic web for this type of
activity.

cheers,
Michael

Michael Miller
Lead Software Developer
Rosetta Biosoftware Business Unit
www.rosettabio.com


> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of 
> Christopher Cavnor
> Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 1:54 PM
> To: public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org
> Subject: Re: Unstructured vs. Structured (was: HL7 and 
> patient records in RDF/OWL?)
> 
> 
> 
> I'd argue that most information resources are indeed 
> semi-structured. The
> human brain is only able to meta-categorize resources based on its
> structured aspects (markup and structural metadata), its informational
> content (its aboutness), and context (environmental metadata).
> 
> "Structured" data is only structured once we have a common 
> understanding of
> its meaning. In this regard, data is never "raw" (except for randomly
> generated data) - as even structured database tables have 
> metadata to add
> meaning. So the term "semi-structured" is always adequate as 
> far as I am
> concerned. You'd have to prove that there is any other type 
> of data to me ;)
> 
> 
> -- 
> Christopher Cavnor
>  
> 
> On 2/14/06 10:54 AM, "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" 
> <RogerCutler@chevron.com>
> wrote:
> 
> > 
> > OK, then is there a preferred term for what we call "semi-structured
> > data"?  That is, information that is structured but where 
> the structure
> > is not easily determined and perhaps has not been 
> formalized at all, but
> > for which a formalized structure could be defined?  For 
> example, tables
> > in a spreadsheet?  We really care about this kind of thing, 
> but I don't
> > want to confuse the issue by using terms that most people understand
> > differently.
> > 
> > Incidentally, from my personal experience the usage of the term
> > semi-structured, that is, binary blobs in structured 
> databases, is not
> > very common.  Frankly, this is the first I have heard the 
> term used in
> > that sense, but maybe I just don't run in the right circles.
> > 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org
> > [mailto:public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of 
> Jim Hendler
> > Sent: Monday, February 13, 2006 3:43 PM
> > To: Pat Hayes; Gao, Yong
> > Cc: public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org
> > Subject: Re: Unstructured vs. Structured (was: HL7 and 
> patient records
> > in RDF/OWL?)
> > 
> > 
> > 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
> >> 
> > 
> > 
> > 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 with:
> >   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)
> > that said, in the spirit of this particular thread, I think 
> we should be
> > careful and, if we mean to use it in a DB context, make it 
> clear in any
> > document that uses the term (i.e. "structured database" v.
> > "structured data" which are very different in some contexts)
> >     -JH
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
Received on Wednesday, 15 February 2006 16:09:47 GMT

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