W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org > June 2007

Re: RE: RE: [hcls] A map of the Semantic Web for life science and health care

From: <samwald@gmx.at>
Date: Sat, 23 Jun 2007 01:25:50 +0200
Cc: eneumann@teranode.com, public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org, VKASHYAP1@PARTNERS.ORG
Message-ID: <20070622232550.315220@gmx.net>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>

Hello Pat,

> None of this seems to be best conveyed by a 
> vaguely metaphorical 

Actually, it a very clearly defined metaphor that also relates to metaphors in existing publications ("bioinformatics nation"). If you have a general dislike of metaphors, I might understand that, but I don't think the specific metaphor I use is vague.

> diagram drawn using 
> arbitrary rules, 

The rules are not arbitrary at all. Please read the text in my mail or on the wiki page. Looking only at the picture (which is a mere draft of the graphic style) does not tell you much. Most of the features convey meaning, those that do not have an ergonomic function (e.g. slightly different shades of colors make it easier to distinguish areas).

> Why not just SAY all 
> the above, for example by listing the ontologies 
> and saying what they have in common?

The map should show the connectivity of the resources. While it is true that the current connectivity could be communicated with a simple table (since we are not that far with aligning and linking our ontologies/data), I am optimistic that this will change in the future. Since the 'map' should ideally be updated with future developments, we will (hopefully) reach a degree of connectivity that cannot be ergonomically represented in a table.

> About all I 
> can get out of it is that there are some 
> ontologies which are in some sense about some 
> topic areas. That could be said in a few lines of 
> English, or a small table.

It is obvious that you did not read the text on the wiki page, sorry.

> But I won't rain on this particular parade again. 
> Y'all go ahead and draw pictures.

It is a shortcoming of many great scientist that they lack the motivation to invest time into the communication of their science to people outside their knowledge domain, or even to the general public. Doing that requires making compromises, metaphors, slightly ironic illustrations and other things that are not part of 'hard' science. This is rather unfortunate, since it hinders widespread acceptance, recognition and understanding of most scientific developments outside a very limited field of experts.

Matthias Samwald


Yale Center for Medical Informatics, New Haven /
Section on Medical Expert and Knowledge-Based Systems, Vienna /

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Received on Friday, 22 June 2007 23:26:03 UTC

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