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Re: Distributed ontology development

From: Phillip Lord <phillip.lord@newcastle.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 12:00:57 +0100
To: Mark Musen <musen@Stanford.EDU>
Cc: William Bug <William.Bug@DrexelMed.edu>, Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, Trish Whetzel <whetzel@pcbi.upenn.edu>, Alan Rector <rector@cs.man.ac.uk>, w3c semweb hcls <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Message-ID: <ulkqsqyvq.fsf@newcastle.ac.uk>

>>>>> "MM" == Mark Musen <musen@Stanford.EDU> writes:

  MM> On Jul 10, 2006, at 11:40 PM, William Bug wrote:
  >> However, there doesn't appear to be a means within the OBO/NCBO
  >> community for doing this sort of distributed ontology design
  >> right now.  Two of the tools in wide spread use - Protégé and
  >> OBO-Edit are really not designed to support distributed and
  >> shared development

  MM> I hate to sound like a salesperson, but Protégé in its
  MM> multi-user mode (using the relational database backend) would
  MM> seem to be just what you are looking for.  Protégé (both the
  MM> frames and the OWL facility) allow distributed users to work
  MM> simultaneously on an ontology stored on a remote server.  As the
  MM> ontology is updated, all the Protégé clients refresh
  MM> automatically to display the changes.

Mark, 

If I may be so bold, this is not really distributed development, more
collaborative development. It wouldn't help much if, for example, we
wished to develop an ontology together as we'd never be at work at the
same time (partly because of time zones, partly cause I'm a lazy sod).

For distributed development, you want the ability to fork, merge,
inform, as opposed to simultaneously. 

My own feeling about this (at least with respect to OWL) is what we
really need is a) a human readable syntax b) language support for
modularity (including privacy, visibility and so on) and c) standard
best practices for using these two. Then we can stop worrying and just
use the same tooling for ontology development as we do for software
development. As far as I can see, the issues are all the same. 

Still, you are right, protege is probably the best option out there at
the moment!


Phil
Received on Monday, 17 July 2006 11:01:56 GMT

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