W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-lod@w3.org > November 2009

Ontology Wars? Concerned

From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 19:23:45 +0000
Message-ID: <4B0449C1.5070207@webr3.org>
To: pedantic-web@googlegroups.com
CC: Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>
Hi All,

Many thanks so far for the invaluable input I've been getting from the
community; I may be about to commit the cardinal sin here, but I'm a bit
concerned and only saying this with the best intentions.

Before I start, if I can be considered an early adopter then please do
disregard the rest of this mail.

I'm finding the path to entry in to the linked open data world rather
difficult and confusing, and only for one specific reason - ontologies;
it /feels/ like there are some kind of ontology wars going on and I can
never get a definitive clear answer.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but the primary focus for me is to use
ontologies that people will be using in SPARQL (or alternative language)
queries. Anything else appears to be a waste of time.

Multiple properties in multiple languages that appear to describe the
same thing make no logical sense to me whatsoever, and questioning my
own programming capabilities here, I don't see how they will to a
machine either.

To put it in real terms, all I need to do is describe the relations
between a URI and multiple other URIs, yet this is the blocker in my
current project? - and it's really nothing complex (or shouldn't be);
I've managed to get a grip on all the various concepts and formats,
software, tools, methods, get everything set up, start consuming lod and
correlating plain text entries up to URIs, yet still choosing which
properties / ontologies to use is the blocker :(

Please do tell me if this is just me missing something simple, if I can
simply write up my own ontology and everybody else will be able to
consume the data without any input from me; or me informing the world of
the new ontology so they can consume and handle it, then great; but if
not then surely this is a problem?

My concern is on two levels here;

1: that my own path to entry is being slowed and indeed blocked by
confusion over ontologies.

2: that many other people will find the same problems (or worse) and it
could potentially be a show stopper for something so important.

Just to clarify, I'm not dealing with big custom data sets here, I'm
coming at LOD from the "normal" developer angle, writing systems that
publish articles and such like; and whilst describing things like
titles, authors, publish dates etc is all nice and simple ontology wise;
I'm finding that describing what the content is about is virtually
impossible - tags and subjects just don't cut it & the level of
description of relations needs to be somewhat more fine-grained to be of
any use.

Many Regards & do hope I've caused no offence;

Received on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 19:24:41 UTC

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