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Re: REQDOC: ontologies as resources

From: Jim Hendler <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2002 17:38:42 -0500
Message-Id: <p05101401b891ea31b163@[]>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>, www-webont-wg@w3.org
At 1:43 PM -0500 2/14/02, Peter F. Patel-Schneider wrote:
>In a message expressing my concerns with the requirements document, I
>argued that it is premature to require that ontologies be resources, at
>least if by resource, we mean an RDF resource, i.e., elements of the domain
>of discourse that can be used just like any other element of the domain of
>I happen to think that it is a bad idea for ontologies to be just the same
>as other objects because there may be unexpected consequences of this
>decision.  For example, if we have ontologies referring to other
>ontologies, making ontologies just the same a other objects gets us more
>than halfway to being able to have conditional referring, which can have
>sever computational consequences.
>Moreover, the justification for have ontologies as (RDF) resources is to
>support ontology sharing, but it is certainly possible to have ontology
>sharing while still making ontologies different from other objects.
>Therefore, the stated support for ontologies as resources is not a true
>Peter F. Patel-Schneider
>Bell Labs Research
>PS:  What should we do with requirements that have no motivation?

Note - waiver of chair neutrality
I think the single most important requirement in this document is 
that ontologies are resources as defined in this document.  Most of 
the application my students and I are working on require that a web 
resource can express that is is commited to a particular ontology -- 
using references to ontologies as was done in SHOE -- I am happy not 
to require this of all resources using an ontology, but I want to be 
able to create my own ability to say things like
  "This web page is committed to a particular ontology" -- this means 
I want the ontology to be able to be referred to specifically with 
its own identifier - i.e.

ontology-uri#ontname a owl:ontology;

URI1 a jah-owl:web-page;
   jah-owl:committedTo Ontology-uri#ontname.

this is my understanding of what this requirement lets me do.  If it 
is suggested that this can be done another way, or if it is suggested 
that resource means something weightier than this, then I would 
support a wording change that makes this clearer.

Note also that the charter of this working group says:

>* In addition, the language must support the development and linking 
>of ontologies together, in a web-like manner.

which I think motivates this requirement.  (Note also that I do not 
see how to do many of out other reqs including - ontology extension, 
commitment to ontologies, ontology metadata, and versioning 
information without this one)


Professor James Hendler				  hendler@cs.umd.edu
Director, Semantic Web and Agent Technologies	  301-405-2696
Maryland Information and Network Dynamics Lab.	  301-405-6707 (Fax)
AV Williams Building, Univ of Maryland		  College Park, MD 20742
Received on Thursday, 14 February 2002 17:38:54 UTC

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