W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > July 2006

Re: ontology specs for self-publishing experiment

From: Phillip Lord <phillip.lord@newcastle.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 11:42:53 +0100
To: "w3c semweb hcls" <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>
Message-ID: <uhd1pwxjm.fsf@newcastle.ac.uk>

>>>>> "AR" == Alan Rector <rector@cs.man.ac.uk> writes:

  AR> All

  AR> Just catching up.

  AR> Could I strongly support the following.  If there is one
  AR> repeatedly confirmed lesson from the medical communities
  AR> experience with large terminologies/ontologies/ it is to
  AR> separate the "terms" from the "entities".  There are always
  AR> linguistic artefacts, and language changes more fluidly in both
  AR> time and space than the underlying entities.  (In medical
  AR> informatics this is sometimes quaintly phrased as using
  AR> "nonsemantic identifiers").

Not that I wish to disagree with Alan, of course, but it is worth
mentioning the reason that so many identifiers are semantically
meaningful in biology; they look better in papers. More over, because
they have some meaning associated with them, they are likely to be
used correct in papers as biologists will notice when they have the
wrong one. 

My own feeling is that the fly people got it right years ago. Their
gene identifiers had meaning, but not too much. So, for example,
sevenless is a mutant lacking the 7th cell in the eye. Clear, straight
forward and memorable. And if the world changes under you, the name
could be left the same because it doesn't really matter that much. 

Also, some of the names were quite amusing, although the "sonic
hedgehog" gag ran out years ago. 


Received on Monday, 10 July 2006 10:43:05 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 17:20:17 UTC