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Re: ontology & careers?

From: William Grosso <grosso@SMI.Stanford.EDU>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 14:53:57 -0700
Message-ID: <38FE2AF5.961EFCDA@smi.stanford.edu>
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org


Mark Reitman wrote:

> Ontology is the subject/department tree structure 
> that is often used by search engines to classify 
> content 

While this could be interpreted in a way that would 
make it seem true, it's not quite the last word on 
the subject.

Knowledge Representation is a branch of Artificial
Intelligence (which is itself a branch of Computer
Science).

The idea of using taxonomic representations (e.g., 
ontologies) to classify knowledge has been an active 
research area for the past 30 or so years (look under
knowledge representation, for more explicitly 
ontological work, look under "Frame based languages"). 

Random index pages gleaned from a google search include

	http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/mfkb/related.html
	http://ksl-web.stanford.edu/kst/ontology-sources.html
	http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~franconi/kr.html

Other starting points include:

Peter Karp's _The Design Space of Knowledge Representation
	Systems_. It's a longish overview paper-- if you
	*start* here, you'll need to backtrack and look at some
	of the references. But it's a very good, unbiased overview
	of frame-based systems. And, personally, I've found that
	diving into the deep-end and then backtracking is a very
	efficient way to learn a subject.
	(http://www.ai.sri.com/~pkarp/frame-overview.html)

_Readings in Knowledge Representation_. Published in the mid 
	1980's, by Morgan Kauffman and available in many
	CS libraries. Lots of good papers which are either 
	"outdated" or "classics" depending on your taste. 
	
And, of course, a very good starting point, with a fair
amount of discussion of using ontologies in medical 
applications, are the SMI web pages :-)

An even better starting point might be Stefik's book
_Introduction to Knowledge Systems_. While not about
ontologies per se, it does cover all the background
and important issues in knowledge representation (and
thus makes the work on ontologies etcetera more 
comprehensible). 

Generally speaking, there isn't really a clear and sharp
dividing line between the words "ontology" and "schema"
(as in relational database schema). The boundary tends to be 
quite fuzzy. Thus, the areas where ontologies are used (or, 
at least, considered) in industry tend to be those that 
are either very knowledge-intensive or where database 
schemas get really complex-- healthcare, the recent wave 
of B2B companies doing vocabularies and mappings, aerospace 
companies, etcetera.


-- 
William Grosso                  grosso@smi.stanford.edu
Phone 650-498-4255              http://www.smi.stanford.edu/people/grosso/
Received on Wednesday, 19 April 2000 17:54:01 GMT

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