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Re: In defense of meaninglessness: an ontologist's dilemma*

From: Joanne Luciano <jluciano@cs.rpi.edu>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 11:13:26 -0400
Cc: Michel_Dumontier <Michel_Dumontier@carleton.ca>, "Sivaram Arabandi, MD" <sivaram.arabandi@gmail.com>, HCLS <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Message-Id: <30CE6AAD-A334-45AB-92D3-578FACE57D9E@cs.rpi.edu>
To: Bob Futrelle <bob.futrelle@gmail.com>
Was posted, and comments appreciated.
Was my comment posted about English being the standard language in aviation?

--- Joanne



On Jun 23, 2011, at 8:51 AM, Bob Futrelle wrote:

> There is a spectrum here, from black to white.  A house number, 223 Main Street, is rather opaque,, whereas "The third house west of the southwest corner of Main and Jones" is less opaque.
> 
> A real challenge is Japan, where the house addresses are numbered in the order in which the houses were constructed - close to totally opaque, though not meaningless.  Knowing the construction dates still does not help in determining the location coordinates.
> 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_numbering
> 
> A bit more complex: Houses can be picked and deposited in a new location.  Street numbers are (very) occasionally revised; zip codes and area codes more often.  Closer to home, genes and diseases are renamed.
> 
> - Bob Futrelle
> 
> PS: I'm not sure that this will be posted to the list.
> 
> 
> 
> On Thu, Jun 23, 2011 at 8:28 AM, Michel_Dumontier <Michel_Dumontier@carleton.ca> wrote:
> Hi Sivaram,
>  Identifiers, whether opaque or not, hold meaning when they identify some thing (or things) - otherwise they do not serve their intended purpose.
> 
> Where there is disagreement is in terms of the syntax of the identifier. Some want to incorporate language mnemonic and others use an alphanumeric identifier some namespace. The plethora of coding systems indicates that the alphanumeric identifier is a perfectly acceptable system. The plethora of linked data vocabularies indicates that a language mnemonic is a perfectly acceptable system. Respectfully, there is nothing to test here.
> 
>  The only thing we can do is accept that both will exist as part of the semantic web. We're best to focus on what tools and approaches are required to work with such data and deal with substantive issues relating to conceptualization, formalization, publishing, internationalization, versioning, change management, mapping, reuse, query and discovery.
> 
> Best,
> 
> m.
> 
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org [mailto:public-semweb-lifesci-
> > request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Sivaram Arabandi, MD
> > Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2011 7:23 AM
> > To: HCLS
> > Subject: In defense of meaninglessness: an ontologist's dilemma*
> >
> > The issue of meaningless identifiers has been far more controversial than
> > imagined. After 70+ emails in the 2 threads
> > (http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-semweb-
> > lifesci/2011Jun/0080.html  and  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-
> > semweb-lifesci/2011Jun/0125.html), there is still no consensus.
> >
> > The views expressed in these threads demonstrates the substantial
> > experience of the members as well as the commitment of the group as a whole
> > to discuss it fairly and openly. However, no consensus has emerged.
> > Therefore, instead of continuing to bicker, perhaps this group should
> > approach it more scientifically and setup experiment(s) to test the
> > hypothesis that "MEANINGLESS (identifier) IS MEANINGFUL".
> >
> > As a member of the standards body, perhaps this would be worthy goal of the
> > HCLS charter.
> >
> > The ramifications of the proposed change to meaningless identifiers is
> > quite far reaching. If not approached careful, it will result in alienating
> > a substantial portion of the community. Hence, it is imperative that such a
> > move must build consensus before being undertaken.
> >
> > The current rationale put forward by OBO Foundry (http://obofoundry.org/id-
> > policy.shtml) has not been convincing - hence this current controversy. The
> > OBO Foundry should acknowledge this reality and work towards consensus
> > building by collaborating and constructing useful "proof of concept" use
> > cases that demonstrate the benefits of the "meaningless identifiers" in the
> > Semantic Web area. Not doing so will result in the very thing that the
> > Foundry and HCLS is trying to avoid - fragmentation!
> >
> > best
> > Sivaram
> > * subject line is an adaptation of Michael Pollan's bestsellers on food.
> > :)
> >
> > ____________________________
> > Sivaram Arabandi, MD, MS
> > Ph:  216.374.2883
> >
> > http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?SivaramArabandi
> > http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sivaram-arabandi/1/9ab/92a
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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> 
Received on Thursday, 23 June 2011 15:14:30 UTC

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