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RE: A question on the vocabulary for 'persons' - ACL level of granularity?

From: Matthias Samwald <samwald@gmx.at>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2006 13:23:09 +0200
To: <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
CC: <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Message-ID: <200691813239.073082@cqueberel>

On Sun, 17 Sep 2006 23:24:30 -0400, Xiaoshu Wang wrote:

> I actually think that each ontology designer should think beyond
> its own community  because in the long run, we don't know how
> things will be interact with each other.  

But thats the problem. It would be quite hard for ontology developers to anticipate all possible contexts of the use of an ontology and to modularize it accordingly. The computer-geeks developing foaf some years ago did not anticipate that some life science-geeks would not like to have properties for geekcodes in their ontology. The developers of some top-level ontology that makes 'protein' a subclass of 'food' did not either. Even small disagreements can become quite annoying, and it would increase the effort needed for ontology development quite a bit. 
Furthermore, highly modularized ontologies that use many cascading owl:imports are also quite hard to work with in practice. For example, I couldn't work on an ontology that had some cascading imports that led to the protege.stanford.edu website when the website was down. Protgege just gave up because one of the imports in the cascade could not be loaded. Very, very annoying.
Leaving it to 'ontology re-users' to excise the parts of the original ontology they want to use in their own work takes some burden off the shoulders of ontology developers. It also gives ontology re-users more freedom to choose.

> The foaf:geekcode example is a figure of speech especially with Chris'
> objection to foaf. I certainly wouldn't expect that Chris or anyonelse in
> that matter would in fact make some statement to recommend not to use
> certain (or even part of an) ontology

I am not sure if I understood you correctly. However, I think it  is a very realistic use-case that someone does want to re-use some parts of an ontology while leaving out others, simply because some parts are not NEEDED for the application (not because it would contradict some other statements in the ontology). An example would be the creation of GUIs. An appliaction that uses an ontology that is perfectly fit for the use of the application could generate a form for editing information about a person simply by querying all of the possible properties for an instance of the person class. On the other hand, an application that uses an ontology with a lot of unwanted properties would need to take additional actions to show only the needed properties and suppress the unwanted properties.

kind regards,
Matthias Samwald
Received on Monday, 18 September 2006 11:23:16 UTC

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