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SemWeb CMS question

From: ben syverson <w3@likn.org>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 15:33:36 -0600
Message-Id: <2C16F20F-D433-486C-A568-D0C8C917B822@likn.org>
To: semantic-web@w3.org

Hello,

I took a break from likn, my semantic web CMS, but I'm returning to  
it now, and finding that I still have one very fundamental issue to  
work out: if likn allows users to dynamically build a vocabulary and  
ontology, how do you handle changes?

First, some background: likn is a CMS that allows its users to add  
metadata and constraints to new or existing nodes via a chatbot named  
qbot. All of these assertions are reified (internally only) and  
evaluated based on popularity. This means likn and qbot display/ 
return things like:
"I'm pretty sure that the color of ben's hair is Brown"

An important note is that there are no B-nodes, so every connecting  
node is extant. That is, the above example would imply a node named  
"ben's hair."

These connecting nodes are created transparently during the assertion  
dialog:
User: "ben's hair is brown."
qbot (to herself):
* ben has component hair via human.
* hair has property color
* color has instance brown
(to User): "Do you mean that the color of ben's hair is brown?"
If the user confirms, the connecting node "ben's hair" is  
established, and given the property color with the value brown.

All of that works just dandy, but then someone comes along and  
decides to refine the model: humans don't have hair, they have  
bodies, and their bodies have hair. Furthermore, their bodies have  
heads, and these heads have their own hair. Everyone in the community  
agrees, and the model shifts.

The problem is that ben is now saddled with an outdated relationship.  
"Ben's hair" was precise when it was created, but now it's ambiguous:  
does it mean "the hair of ben's body" or "the hair of the head of  
ben's body?" It's easy enough to ask the user, but as the system  
scales up, it means that thousands of relationships could be  
instantly rendered ambiguous.

One possible solution would be to add the additional assertion:  
"human's hair is the same as the hair of the head of human's body" in  
order to bridge the gap. The only drawback *there* is that the node  
named "ben's hair" still remains, with its less-than-ideal (and  
invariable) name.

I don't know -- maybe I'm just talking myself through my issues in  
public. Does anyone have any suggestions?

- ben syverson
Received on Friday, 17 February 2006 21:33:42 UTC

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