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

From: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 13:49:41 -0400
To: Michel_Dumontier <Michel_Dumontier@carleton.ca>
Cc: "Sivaram Arabandi, MD" <sivaram.arabandi@gmail.com>, HCLS <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1308851381.14113.20945.camel@dbooth-laptop>
Agreed.  I think it is pretty clear that there are trade-offs between
choosing identifiers that are mnemonic versus making them neutral, and
different people will weigh those trade-offs differently, so there will
never be full consensus on which approach is best.

David 

On Thu, 2011-06-23 at 08:28 -0400, Michel_Dumontier 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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> 
> 

-- 
David Booth, Ph.D.
http://dbooth.org/

Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily
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Received on Thursday, 23 June 2011 17:50:05 UTC

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