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Re: When does a document acquire (web) semantics?

From: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 04:15:29 +0100
Message-ID: <1f2ed5cd1002011915w92807ffuf0fbc5c99edf7039@mail.gmail.com>
To: Davide Zaccagnini <davide@landcglobal.com>
Cc: Peter Ansell <ansell.peter@gmail.com>, Andrea Splendiani <andrea.splendiani@bbsrc.ac.uk>, John Madden <john.madden@duke.edu>, w3c semweb HCLS <public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org>, "Eric Prud'hommeaux" <eric@w3.org>
On 2 February 2010 03:29, Davide Zaccagnini <davide@landcglobal.com> wrote:
> I was rather trying to lighten a little concerns over possible 'semantic drift' as new ontologies are applied over or in addition to those specified by the first author of the graph. No doubt the first formalization must be free from ambiguity and 'ignorance', but in the real clinical IT word chances are that subsequent transpositions of that graph (through queries or mappings) will not change semantics significantly

For sure. But if we are wrong with our analyses in the first place, we
should expect lousy results. At a human scale that's rather bad news.

> Davide
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Danny Ayers [mailto:danny.ayers@gmail.com]
> Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 9:11 PM
> To: Davide Zaccagnini
> Cc: Peter Ansell; Andrea Splendiani; John Madden; w3c semweb HCLS; Eric Prud'hommeaux
> Subject: Re: When does a document acquire (web) semantics?
> I'm sorry Davide, but your description seems to put this stuff at an
> unambiguous level, but we all know that's not true. The practitioners
> may use a good fact base (in the uk it's a booklet called mims) but
> when the scalpel hits, it's a judgement call. Wrapping such human
> things into software isn't going to get us anywhere without careful
> thought. I suppose what I'm saying is we have to allow for ignorance
> in these systems, which is virtually impossible to express, even in
> OWL.
> On 2 February 2010 02:54, Davide Zaccagnini <davide@landcglobal.com> wrote:
>> In a clinical IT system actionable data (diagnoses, allergies, medications etc) are typically quite unambiguous at the application level. Similarly, information in documents is almost always clear to a physician who reads it. This is to say that for most clinical documents the ontology that can be imposed to formalize meaning (SNOMED for instance) is typically stable and well agreed upon. And so are the possible mappings from one ontology to another, among those commonly used in healthcare. The story gets way more complicated for data to be used in research, but the good news is that most medical terminologies can be applied to a document with good chances that the resulting graph will be understood, accepted and used by applications and users. At least for the most commonly used clinical data.
>> inb
>> Davide
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org [mailto:public-semweb-lifesci-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Peter Ansell
>> Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 6:41 PM
>> To: Andrea Splendiani
>> Cc: John Madden; w3c semweb HCLS; Eric Prud'hommeaux
>> Subject: Re: When does a document acquire (web) semantics?
>> I agree completely!
>> Cheers,
>> Peter
>> On 2 February 2010 09:26, Andrea Splendiani
>> <andrea.splendiani@bbsrc.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> I think there are two aspects related to semantics.
>>> One is interpretation (like: the world is flat by Mark). And this is in the ontology or, if you want, even in queries.
>>> But there is also the fact that you "name" things when you expose a resource. The resource itself, or some info in more detail.
>>> This naming is based on some common grounding without which you cannot apply ontologies or queries.
>>> my 0.1 cents
>>> ciao,
>>> Andrea
>>> On 1 Feb 2010, at 18:30, John Madden wrote:
>>>> We had an interesting call in TERM today. One of the topics I would like to boil down to the question "When does a document acquire its semantics?" or, "when does a document come to mean something?"
>>>> I argued the (admittedly intentionally) radical view that documents have no semantics whatsoever until a reader performs an act of interpretation upon the document, which in the Semantic Web world would be the same as attributing an RDF/OWL graph to the document.
>>>> Even if the author of the document attributes a a particular RDF/OWL graph to her won document, I argued that this graph is not privileged in any way. That others could justifiably argue that the author's own RDF/OWL graph is incomplete, or flawed, or irrelevant, or even incorrect. And the same is true of any subsequent interpreters (i.e. authors of RDF/OWL graphs that purport to represent the "meaning" of the same document).
>>>> Eric argued a really interesting point. He argued (and Eric, correct me if I'm interpreting you wrong here), that semantics instead come into existence (or perhaps *can* come into existence) at the point when somebody executes a SPARQL query on a set of RDF/OWL graphs. That is to say, maybe I'm wrong and semantics doesn't even come into existence when somebody attributes an RDF/XML graph to a document; but rather it only comes into existence when somebody queries across (possibly) many graphs of many different people.
>>>> What do you think?
>>>> John
>>> ---
>>> Andrea Splendiani
>>> Senior Bioinformatics Scientist
>>> Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK
>>> andrea.splendiani@bbsrc.ac.uk
>>> +44(0)1582 763133 ext 2004
> --
> http://danny.ayers.name

Received on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 03:16:04 UTC

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