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Re: A valuable lesson on the difference between XML Schemas and ontologies

From: Henry S. Thompson <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 19:55:19 +0000
To: Eliot Kimber <ekimber@reallysi.com>
Cc: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>, "xmlschema-dev@w3.org" <xmlschema-dev@w3.org>
Message-ID: <f5bsjm37jdk.fsf@calexico.inf.ed.ac.uk>
Eliot Kimber writes:

> XML schemas are nothing more than document syntax constraint specifications.
> There is no sense in which then can be anything more than a very weak
> reflection of some deeper ontology that governs the semantic objects for
> which the XML governed by the XSD schema is one possible serialization.
> That is, ontologies describe relationships among things, schemas define
> syntactic constraints on XML elements. The fact that the XSD mechanism has a
> weak facility for defining type hierarchies does not make it a language for
> describing taxonomies or ontologies.

Hear hear!  Confusing application domain analysis/data model design
with interchange/archival document language design is a fundamental
(albeit very common) mistake.  Don't do that.

       Henry S. Thompson, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
      10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, SCOTLAND -- (44) 131 650-4440
                Fax: (44) 131 651-1426, e-mail: ht@inf.ed.ac.uk
                       URL: http://www.ltg.ed.ac.uk/~ht/
 [mail from me _always_ has a .sig like this -- mail without it is forged spam]
Received on Friday, 4 November 2011 19:58:24 UTC

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