W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > June 2009

Re: Putting Government Data online

From: Azamat <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009 19:56:12 +0300
Message-ID: <004401c9f5b5$d8676430$a104810a@homepc>
To: "'SW-forum'" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Cc: "Manola, Frank" <fmanola@acm.org>, "John F. Sowa" <sowa@BESTWEB.NET>, "Danny Ayers" <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
FM: The Semantic Web still has a chance given the number of dedicated and
 smart people working on it.
Right. There are many brilliant minds involved in the SW Activities, needing 
the wise management of the whole program and its many constituent parts, 
projects and specifications.

FM: The S*m*ntic W*b has *no* chance as long as those who believe in it 
don't develop their own specs and software that demonstrate all the 
purported advantage of doing it that way (whatever it is).
Again, right. But it sounds as if you were estranging yourself from the 
To reach out, the SW pile [of URI's Identifiers, UNICODE character set, XML 
syntax, RDF data interchange; RDFS taxonomies, SPARQL querying, OWL 
vocabularies, RIF/SWRL rules; Unifying Logic; Proof; Trust] is to be 
reviewed in more lucid and consistent terms of Data, Information, Knowledge, 
and Wisdom Hierarchy, widely used in Information Science and Knowledge 
Management Systems. Then the whole thing becomes ordered and logical, as in:

  a.. The bottom Data Level makes the web of data (ontology's ground 
elements, individuals, instances, facts, or raw data) all sort of data 
repositories, digital archives, silos, data warehouses in all fields of 
knowledge and practice;
  b.. The Information Level, the web of information (ontology's elements of 
classes, sets and collections of data, collection of facts, datasets with 
some structure). Here belong the Linked Data, and a terabyte of information 
in the social sciences, natural sciences, or the digital humanities data, 
like Google Books, Project Gutenberg, Microsoft books.live.com, any 
statistical data sets, somehow ordered, as the relational databases;
  c.. The Knowledge Level makes the web of knowledge (ontology's elements of 
relationships, the related facts, truths and principles and inference rules, 
content and context, proof and trust, semantic and logical rules). Here WILL 
belong SW knowledge bases, reasoning mechanisms, systems and tools and 
languages and domain ontologies);
  d.. The Wisdom Level makes the web of wisdom, or the Wisdom Web, 
Intelligent Web, Real Semantic Web (a global ontology of all resources 
implying a standard ontology of top categories and meanings and a single 
universal identification system of entities).
As the first step, all the specifications need to be aligned with the 
universal concept of resources, as entities with identity, concrete, 
collective or abstract, as anything, so that a URI could identify anything 
and everything, everywhere and every time.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Frank Manola" <fmanola@acm.org>
To: "SW-forum" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 9:35 PM
Subject: Re: Putting Government Data online

> On Jun 24, 2009, at 11:24 AM, Azamat wrote:
>> "Tim typically hid his talent under a bushel
>> must read : http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/GovData.html"
>> I much doubt that this note may have any big use. Recommend to learn 
>> more about the relationship of Data, Information, Knowledge and  Wisdom. 
>> Good to start from the Ackoff's paper: "From data to  wisdom."  There is 
>> a rich literature on the data-information- knowledge-wisdom hierarchy 
>> (pyramid), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIKW . More advanced concepts are 
>> Linked Information and Linked Knowledge  or the Wisdom Pyramid with 
>> meaningfully dynamic knowledge networks  topology: full relationship as 
>> well as line, loop, bus, mesh, star,  or tree.
>> It is claimed that "Linked Data allows different things in different 
>> datasets of all kinds to be connected." 
>> http://www.thenationaldialogue.org/ideas/linked-open-data .
>> As it is, Linked Data looks a big mess-up of data, http://linkeddata.org/ 
>> , with low quality content and lack of any knowledge structure or 
>> inference mechanism.
> Yes, but it's on the Web, and linked!  As opposed to lots of other  data 
> (much of which also has low quality content and lack of any  knowledge 
> structure or inference mechanism) that isn't.  There's no  point in 
> comparing the current state of linked data with some "data  Eden" that 
> doesn't (and never did) exist.  What progress is being made  toward the 
> S*m*ntic W*b (the S*m*ntic W*b is the alternative to the  Semantic Web 
> that avoids all the supposed errors of the Semantic Web)  using these 
> other approaches?
>> I share the concerns recently expressed by John Sowa on other forum:
> He may have expressed these concerns recently on another forum, but  he's 
> been expressing them for years.
>> "My major complaint about the Semantic Web is that they ignored all
>> the development techniques that worked successfully for years, and
>> they failed to provide a migration path.
> Worked successfully *for what*?  No one is debating the success of 
> relational databases as database technology, but if there was a  migration 
> path to the S*m*ntic W*b it was either not very clearly  marked, or those 
> who believed in it weren't proceeding along it at any  substantial pace, 
> or both.
>> Following are some of the most egregious blunders:
>> 1. Ignoring the fact that every major web site is built on top
>>    of a relational database.  The major sites use big commercial
>>    databases.  Smaller sites are based on LAMP -- Linux, Apache,
>>    MySQL, and Perl, Python, or PHP.
> How does the Semantic Web ignore relational databases?  Do you mean 
> people building triple stores?  There's nothing built into the  Semantic 
> Web that requires triple stores.
>> 2. Building RDF on top of triples, instead of the SQL n-tuples.
> Which enables people to grab groups of triples off the Web without  having 
> to find schemas to figure out what the fields of the n-tuples  are.  I 
> call that an *advantage* on the Web, not an "egregious  blunder". 
> Besides, triples just constitute a highly-normalized form  of relational 
> database anyway (a number of relational database design  experts recommend 
> a similar type of conceptual design), so the  foundation is pretty much 
> the same.  And if building the S*m*ntic W*b  directly on n-tuples is so 
> much better, why don't more of the critics  get busy on it, instead of 
> just carping about the work other people  are trying to do?
>> 3. Failing to integrate their notations with UML diagrams, which
>>    include type hierarchies and various notations for constraints.
> Work has been done on this, but do you seriously believe lack of UML 
> diagrams is a major issue?  Relational databases certainly didn't rely 
> very much on UML diagrams for database design to become a mainstream 
> technology.
>> If the Semantic Web had addressed these three issues from the  beginning,
>> it would have been integrated into the mainstream of data processing  in
>> about 3 or 4 years.  Today, we would have seen some truly spectacular
>> applications.
> Baloney.  What evidence exists that the problem is technology, as  opposed 
> to cost, requirements, and politics (of putting data online)? 
> Integrating/rationalizing heterogeneous data is hard work, and always  has 
> been (even when the data being integrated was *entirely* in  relational 
> databases).
>> The SemWeb still has a chance, but it has to be integrated with the
>> mainstream of data processing before it can become the mainstream."
> Certainly true.  Let me offer a couple more truisms:
> The Semantic Web still has a chance given the number of dedicated and 
> smart people working on it.
> The S*m*ntic W*b has *no* chance as long as those who believe in it  don't 
> develop their own specs and software that demonstrate all the  purported 
> advantage of doing it that way (whatever it is).
> --Frank
Received on Thursday, 25 June 2009 16:57:00 UTC

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