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

From: Joanne Luciano <jluciano@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 22:30:02 -0500
To: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Message-Id: <13172ED4-0170-4272-B12E-31B8B6EDD37C@gmail.com>
Cc: Davide Zaccagnini <davide@landcglobal.com>, 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>
>> . 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.

Ignorance can be expressed in at least 2 ways in OWL... Disclaimer:  
this is off the top of my head and it is late ...

1, Open world assumption
2, Granularity - meaning you only encode to the level you are not  
ignorant about,


Sent from my iPod

On Feb 1, 2010, at 10:15 PM, Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> -- 
> http://danny.ayers.name
Received on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 03:30:46 UTC

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