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Re: [SE] Ontology Driven Architecture Note

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 21:37:29 -0500
Message-Id: <p06230911bf9ef9063c1c@[]>
To: Phil Tetlow <philip.tetlow@uk.ibm.com>
Cc: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, "best-practice list" <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>, danbri@s3.org

Phil - it wasn't the concept that bothered me - 
it was the terminology - the idea of Semantic 
Intra-Webs doesn't bother me, the idea of 
"Semantic Webs" (with an S) is what I think we 
need to avoid because it gives people the wrong 
idea - for example, I saw a couple of things at 
ISWC that claimed to be Semantic Web, but didn't 
use RDF, OWL, any kind of URI scheme, or anything 
that would allow linking into the Semantic Web... 
doesn't seem to me that that is a good thing to 
p.s. FWIW, I thought this note would be a good 
one for SWBP, in fact better than many of the 
things turned out that are sort of "ontologies 
for experts" instead of "why use the Semantic 
Web" -- if the SW CG does start a Sem Web 
Outreach WG, then I hope this document will go 

At 21:00 +0000 11/14/05, Phil Tetlow wrote:
>I fully appreciate your point and indeed agree in part, but I don't
>necessarily believe that the note is as dangerous, divisive or na´ve as you
>indicate (but I am hoping you will correct me further). As the preceding
>paragraph to the section in question states "it is important to be
>pragmatic" and also mentions that the two cases presented relate to a
>"relational standpoint".
>This section was, in fact, included following some considered and valued
>input from Alan Rector and I personally think that it adds great value. For
>me, it helps break down a number of barriers for many "traditional"
>practitioners who IMHO have a somewhat esoteric view of the Semantic Web as
>a holistic reality.
>The main purpose of the note is to encourage take up in new communities,
>"bridge building" if you will. As such, even though, we all know this side
>of the bridge that linking "islands" of the Semantic Web will be important
>in the future, I think there is another, equally important point we should
>not forget - if the islands are not constructed in the first place, the
>idea of linking them together into higher orders of ontology is merely
>fanciful. Just because such islands choose to exist in the same referenable
>ocean of HTTP URI space does not preclude them from being located over the
>visible horizon, nor does it suggest that they have to be quarantined from
>the rest of the world to prevent infection (please forgive my somewhat
>forceful analogy here). Furthermore, I think it is important to note that
>less experienced practitioners may well be more comfortable with island
>building, than continent construction right now.
>There is also a question of purpose here. This note was deliberately
>written within the Best Practices Working Group to undergo hard review (and
>it has indeed undergone a baptism of fire so far), so what exactly do we
>mean by "Best Practice" here? Is it about the betterment of the notion of
>"a Semantic Web" as you appear to suggest, or is it more to do with the
>application of current technologies created under the Semantic Web banner?
>If the latter is more relevant, then as an industrial practitioner using
>such technologies in the field right now, the significant feedback I am
>getting from "corporate" adopters is that they have purely selfish reasons
>for adoption, wanting to address specific problems in their own specific
>domains. Hence do we want to refer to such practices using "intra-based"
>terminologies? My feeling is not for exactly the reasons you mention. Many
>users deliberately adopt global namespaces from which to build their own
>isolated understandings for good reason, and so these understandings may
>well be blended into the wider community of the Semantic Web at some point
>in the future (as indicated in the second bullet in the list). Therefore,
>at present, they are neither totally isolated nor totally integrated; they
>are merely invisible web fragments of an early and sporadic semantic whole.
>Is this bad practice? Is this misconceived? I think not. It may not be
>pure, but it is practical and it is helping to solve a number of serious
>and significant real world problems right now; hence the need for best
>practice guidance in this area. To marginalise such types of application
>would, in my "na´ve" mind, be counterproductive, but I wholeheartedly agree
>with your opinion that it is important to send out the most appropriate
>guidance to an eagerly awaiting audience at this time. Any further advice
>you might have would indeed be appreciated, in what is undoutably a
>contentious area.
>I think that it is also important to reiterate that many of the
>applications of Sem Web technologies we are now seeing are less concerned
>with AI and more to do with formality of description and transformation
>Ranting over. I must apologise!  ;0)
>Best Regards,
>Philip Tetlow
>Senior Consultant (Certified Technical Architect)
>IBM Business Consulting Services
>Mail: IBM United Kingdom Limited, 1175 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Colton,
>Leeds, LS15 8ZB
>Current Assignment: DWP BPRP (Metadata)
>Mobile: +44 (0)7740 923328
>Email: philip.tetlow@uk.ibm.com
>              Jim Hendler
>              <hendler@cs.umd.e
>              du>                                                        To
>                                        Phil Tetlow/UK/IBM@IBMGB,
>              14/11/2005 16:44          danbri@w3.org
>                                                                         cc
>                                        "best-practice list"
>                                        <public-swbp-wg@w3.org>, Tim
>                                        Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
>                                                                    Subject
>                                        Re: [SE] Ontology Driven
>                                        Architecture Note
>FWIW, I was planning to raise some objections when this went out - I
>can do it now -- basically, I think we should remove the discussion
>of "a collection of semantic webs" which is both naive and misleading
>(section 3.4 of [1]) -- rather, if you wish to refer to something
>like "Semantic intra-nets" or such I could live with that -- the
>point is this content all lives in the same exact address space (the
>http URI space) and separate documents within corporations or the
>like, may be protected by firewalls, or by lack of linking, but since
>they still participate in this same universal space (and via same
>protocols, standards, etc;) saying "Semantic Webs" is as wrong as
>referring to separate "Webs" -- the WWW has intranet/intraweb
>components which are walled-off from others, and this was crucial to
>early Web development, but it is exactly that these could eventually
>be linked to others that we have a (singular) World Wide Web, and
>conveying the idea that somehow the Sem Web is different is both
>misleading and wrong -- if someone totally foolish wanted to create
>their own, unregistered URI scheme, keep their ontologies against
>that scheme (and I guess copy the owl namespace into that space or
>else they link via owl: concepts), and make sure nothing every
>touched the rest of the Web it could be a separate Semantic Web, but
>it seems like an odd and vicious idea to do so.   Linking "islands"
>of the Semantic Web will eventually be very important to its success,
>and it is VERY important that we don't convey the idea that these
>islands are somehow separate -- if we do, then much of the Sem Web
>technology "degrades" back to the traditional, unlinkable, AI stuff,
>which is what we are trying to avoid.
>   Tim BL and I had a fight with one of the EU funders who kept trying
>to refer to multiple Semantic Webs, and seeing SWBP feed into this
>foolish misconception would not be a good thing
>   -Jim Hendler
>    AC Rep
>   MIND Lab
>[1] http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/BestPractices/SE/ODA/
>At 8:47 +0000 11/14/05, Phil Tetlow wrote:
>>How do you suggest we go about SWIG review of the ODA note?
>>It can be found at http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/BestPractices/SE/ODA/
>>Best Regards,
>>Philip Tetlow
>>Senior Consultant (Certified Technical Architect)
>>IBM Business Consulting Services
>>Mail: IBM United Kingdom Limited, 1175 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Colton,
>>Leeds, LS15 8ZB
>>Current Assignment: DWP BPRP (Metadata)
>>Mobile: +44 (0)7740 923328
>>Email: philip.tetlow@uk.ibm.com
>Professor James Hendler                                  Director
>Joint Institute for Knowledge Discovery                        301-405-2696
>UMIACS, Univ of Maryland                                       301-314-9734
>College Park, MD 20742
>(New course: http://www.cs.umd.edu/~hendler/CMSC498w/)

Professor James Hendler			  Director
Joint Institute for Knowledge Discovery	  	  301-405-2696
UMIACS, Univ of Maryland			  301-314-9734 (Fax)
College Park, MD 20742	 		  http://www.cs.umd.edu/~hendler
(New course: http://www.cs.umd.edu/~hendler/CMSC498w/)
Received on Tuesday, 15 November 2005 02:49:03 UTC

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