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Re: ISSUE 5.6 - daml:imports as magic syntax

From: Jeff Heflin <heflin@cse.lehigh.edu>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 17:35:01 -0400
Message-ID: <3D7FB705.A0F29F1D@cse.lehigh.edu>
To: Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org>
CC: www-webont-wg@w3.org

How about a practical argument against syntactic inclusion, and XML
Include in particular? Consider that I have a system that needs to
process a hundred documents that import the Cyc upper ontology [1]. In
the syntactic inclusion approach, I must expand each document to include
this very large ontology (its over 2 Meg), effectively giving me 100
copies of the Cyc ontology plus the little data that I already had. Then
consider that a 100 documents is a very small number on the Web which
consists of billions of pages.


[1] http://opencyc.sourceforge.net/daml/cyc.daml

Jonathan Borden wrote:
> Jeff Heflin wrote:
> >
> > Although imports could be treated syntactically (kind of like a
> > "#include" directive), I think that would be a big mistake.  The point
> > of imports is that knowledge from another source applies to the resource
> > in which it is expressed. The Semantic Web is fundamentally about
> > distributed ontologies and data sources, and as such its semantics
> > should discuss these things explicitly. A syntactic fix obscures one of
> > the things that differentiates the Semantic Web from traditional logic
> > approaches. Ontologies and the interrelationships between them are
> > important; they aren't just things to be swept under the rug.
> It is one thing to produce a language that is capable of talking about
> ontologies and it seems that to the extent we can talk about an given
> owl:Ontology, we can say whatever is needed. "owl:import" is a different
> issue, and I'm not sure that we need _both_ mechanisms. That is to say the
> so-called "extralogical" assertions ought be encoded my one mechanism,
> namely owl:Ontology. Perhaps if there was a good and simple and specific use
> case that _requires_ owl:import to have semantics, I'd be better convinced
> that we can't just handle it syntactically, e.g. via XML Include.
> Jonathan
Received on Wednesday, 11 September 2002 17:35:04 UTC

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