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Re: [pedantic-web] Ontology Wars? Concerned

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 14:40:07 -0500
Message-ID: <4B044D97.6010600@openlinksw.com>
To: pedantic-web@googlegroups.com
CC: Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>
Nathan wrote:
> 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.
Ah! Now your going to the next stage, and this is where UMBEL [1] gets 
interesting :-) It provides you with a framework meshing
ontologies to reflect your particular world view i.e., you can use UMBEL 
(as is), or your adaptation (i.e. you additional mappings) as an
inference rules context.
> 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.
This is inherent to the "open world" nature of this realm. In real life 
we do the same thing i.e., different terms used to describe the same 
thing. It that darn "beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.." thing again .
> 2: that many other people will find the same problems (or worse) and it
> could potentially be a show stopper for something so important.
It actually a strength. Imposing terms only leads to war, really.
> 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;
BTW - Bibo Ontology will handle the citation oriented references as 
already indicated by someone else in this thread.


1. http://umbel.org

> Nathan



Kingsley Idehen	      Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
President & CEO 
OpenLink Software     Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
Received on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 19:40:49 UTC

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