Re: [OEP] "Classes as values": summary of the discussion so far and second draft

At 12:56 -0700 27-04-2004, Natasha Noy wrote:
>As promised, you can find the second draft of the "classes as values" note at
>Thanks a million to everyone for all the 
>thoughtful feedback (and for kind words along 
>the way). I think the discussion is not over 
>yet, I tried to address some of the points that 
>seemed less controversial and left some of the 
>discussions (cf my replied to Alan [1] and Aldo 
>[2] up in the air for the moment).

Nice work, Natasha!

>Outstanding discussion and other issues: Alan 
>and Aldo suggested another approach which uses 
>prototypes as values ([3], [4]). I think with 
>this more narrow scope of the example (subjects 
>of books rather than pictures), their solutions 
>seem to address a somewhat different problem. 
>But I am not sure if we have reached closure on 

Yes, my solution was using only one of the 
intended meanings of "subject", which I 
erroneously assumed as the one all the discussion 
started from. On the contrary, the issue was 
raised about another intended meaning (see 
below). This misunderstanding partly illustrates 
my point btw.

>Also has also brought up the issue of 
>ontological patterns vs pragmatic patterns [4]. 
>I am not sure yet though is this is a use case 
>to distinguish them explicitly here.

I agree with Mike on terminology: I did not want 
to make any "purist" claim, and in fact I 
defended common sense and intuition against 
purely syntactic considerations. Maybe my choice 
of opposing ontological vs. pragmatic is not 
politically fit, since it can lead to "purist" 
claims. Then let's change it, let's say "meaning 
preserving" (or "monosemous"?) patterns vs. 
"polysemous" patterns. Any other easy-to-grasp 
terminology would be ok.

I share Natasha's point on people that do not 
want to read 20-page specifications, and it is 
consistent with my defense of intuition.
In fact, "I want to use this hierarchy of musical 
genre to annotate a music collection" refers to 
genre as a kind of "style", which is still 
different from "subject" in Natasha's (and 
possibly from "subject" in Dublin Core or topic 
maps), which is still different from "subject" in 
WordNet sense.

I try to recap on those notions from my (hopely ground) viewpoint:

1) Natasha's "subject" (— sense 2 and 6 of 
WordNet 2.0) means more or less a  "topic" of 
some book, picture, conversation, etc. Maybe 
Dublic and topic maps have a similar intended 
meaning. Chris Welty has written interesting 
things on that.

2) My (and Alan's?) understanding of "subject" (— 
sense 1 of WordNet 2.0) means more or less 
something chosen for representation, which seems 
"prototypical" in the Lion example

3) A musical genre seems closer to a kind of 
style, which can even be described as 
prototypical, but a genre is not a topic per se 
(although it can be the topic of some book), and 
a genre is not something chosen for 

In this case, three different meaning preserving 
patterns should be used. The last version of 
Natasha's summary seems to be one of them, usable 
for notion (1).
My Lion solution interpreted "subject" in sense 
(2), but my main point was that such discussions 
should point to the core "intended meaning" 
rather than to syntactic shortcuts.

I think most users should be able to find their 
way in a list of patterns that easily exemplify 
the notion they are about, e.g.: "are you trying 
to represent the topic of some book, picture, 
etc.?" or "are you trying to represent the 
specific subject depicted or reproduced in some 
picture, drawing, etc.'", or "are you trying to 
represent a style or genre of some picture, book, 
tune, etc.?".
These are, IMO, the "generic use cases" that 
domain-independent ontologies are very smart to 
deal with (I have a presentation and a 
forthcoming paper on ontology design patterns and 
foundational ontologies).

Nonetheless, there is something all these notions 
have in common: they are used as "referents" of 
intellectual/information objects like music, 
pictures, books, etc. Hence, we might be 
interested in creating a polysemous pattern for 
those notions.

Finally, we might even discover a common way of 
conceptualizing them, and in this case the 
pattern would be general enough to be called 
"meaning preserving".

>Thanks a lot to everyone who has contributed to 
>the discussion! And, as I pointed out earlier, I 
>don't think we've reached closure on some of the 
>issues, so, probably, there will be one more 

Sorry for opening a possible new one, but 
probably your last summary is not touched by this 



Aldo Gangemi
Research Scientist
Laboratory for Applied Ontology, ISTC-CNR
Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
(Laboratorio di Ontologia Applicata,
Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione,
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche)
Viale Marx 15, 00137
Roma Italy
+3906.824737 (fax)

Received on Tuesday, 27 April 2004 18:42:47 UTC