RE: [OEP,ALL] Potential topics for OEP notes $swbpd

Thanks for your input, Phil. 
Here is a possible title and outline of what we might produce:

TITLE: Semantic Interoperability and Integration

*	Define the problem in a concise way.  Provide a glimpse of a framework for understanding the emerging field. Do some level setting on basic concepts and terms such as: interoperability vs. integration,  mapping notations, translation, merging/alignment. 
*	Describe and give examples of what can be done today (Some simple things can be done using OWL-Same-As, and OWL-Equivalent for example)
*	Outline briefly some of the things that need to be done in order for the problem to be solved in the longer term. For example, the most basic mapping from one schema/ontology to another may require some functional operations such as concat (joining firstname and lastname to a full name) and arithmetic (for units conversions)
*	Conclude that this is an active research area with no body of practice to work from. 

We have a wealth of material to work with from a recent week-long workshop on the topic that Natasha also attended: 

Mike Uschold

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Tetlow [] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2004 3:28 AM
To: Uschold, Michael F
Cc: Christopher Welty;
Subject: RE: [OEP,ALL] Potential topics for OEP notes $swbpd


I strongly agree with your comments that semantic integration is of growing
importance, and further agree with your comments that there is not
necessarily a sufficient body of Practice (never mind Deployment) out there
to report on. Nevertheless I do feel that this should be an important and
ongoing agenda item for the group.

Chris Welty is familiar with my thoughts on semantic integration and in
particular I think we both share the belief that there is a long way to go
before the raw concepts and accepted practices in this area bottom out.
Nevertheless, I still believe that providing a summary of current consensus
may provide some valuable direction for practitioners from a wide variety
of audiences. In particular I agree that some best practice thought around
definitions for 'semantic integration' might help, although I personally
favour an implementation agnostic approach to this. Short, sharp advice on
what it is and is intended to accomplish, and more importantly, what it is
not and cannot accomplish might be a good start.


Phil Tetlow
Senior Consultant
IBM Business Consulting Services
Mobile. (+44) 7740 923328

             "Uschold, Michael                                             
             <michael.f.uschol                                          To 
   >             "Natasha Noy"                       
             Sent by:                  <noy@SMI.Stanford.EDU>, "Alan       
             public-swbp-wg-re         Rector" <>       
                                       "Christopher Welty"                 
             12/10/2004 02:46          <>             
                                       RE: [OEP,ALL] Potential topics for  
                                       OEP notes  $swbpd                   

I concur with Natasha that we should consider who our target audience is
and prioritize according to what their needs are (as best as we can
determin their needs).

The topics in Chris's list each have significant research components in
them,and could each be very long.  IMHO, we will be better to offer
practical advice than spend too much time on theoretical underpinnings. I

I also agree with Natasha that this might be a bit less fun.

I agree that semantic integration is of growing importance, but I'm not
sure there is a sufficient body of Practice (never mind Deployment) out
there to report on. There IS a great wealth of research papers and
prototypes.  Perhaps, if nothing else, a note on this topic could summarize
the state of affiars briefly, and point out what simnple things CAN be done
with OWL, and talk about the many things that can NOT be done, and why.

I am happy to work on this with someone.

As a group, I think that we should try and identify some criteria to use
for prioritizing. Here are a few to think about:
* degree of need by the user community
* the extent to which there is a signficinant body of practice to draw from
* the extent to which it is possible to writ a note that is simple enough
to be usable by the target community


-----Original Message-----
From: Natasha Noy [mailto:noy@SMI.Stanford.EDU]
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2004 1:37 PM
To: Alan Rector
Cc: Christopher Welty;
Subject: Re: [OEP,ALL] Potential topics for OEP notes

Chris, Alan, OEP-ers,

What is the target audience for our notes? I know that we don't have
any practical way of answering this question, but we have to make an
educated guess. My guess is as good as anyone's, but my feeling is that
there are a lot more people looking for notes on very simple stuff
rather than something large and more complicated, as many things in
Chris's list are. Of course it's much more interesting for _us_ to
write notes on non-trivial stuff, but I am not sure we'll be getting
more people on board with these. If people are struggling with getting
even very simple things right in developing their ontologies (as many
on the protege-owl list are, for instance), they won't be very much
interested in many different types of part-of or an ontology of time.
And these are the people who we probably need to help if we want to
have the critical mass of content on the SW.

Of course, having all the notes that Chris has suggested would be good,
but I am not sure many of them take higher priority than some simpler

- Numeric ranges -- really, really need this one!
- Closing axioms -- without that, classifiers would seldom produce
anything useful and if anyone wants to promote the DL abilities of OWL
(admittedly, I am not one of those people :), you need to tell people
how to get even simple things work. Alan has tons of these, in addition
to closing axioms
- Simple note on units and measures. This came up at one of the recent
telecons: suppose I have an ontology on units (presented in a different
WG note or just something I have), how do I represent the fact that
John's height is 6 feet (and 180 cm) in OWL? I think this is different
from the note that Chris was referring to.
- Part of -- I am all for producing a simple version of partOf that
Evan suggested first.

These are all much more light-weight (and less fun to write :) than the
ones Chris suggested. It doesn't have to be either/or, but we'll
probably have to set some priorities, given the limited resources that
we have.


On Oct 11, 2004, at 1:13 AM, Alan Rector wrote:

>  Chris, All
>  Can I add something like -
>  a) options for using Ontologies in applications - whether in OWL or
> RDF - this is the thing the SWBP  really has to crack. Picking up
> where Classes as Values left off.  I am not sure where pointers to
> specific tricks with current technology fit in, but in the
> "deployment" part of SWBP&D I think many people would welcome a list
> of tool combinations that were known to work, however time limited
> that list will inevitably be.  I am certainly not in a position to
> produce such a list; I don't think the list per se is really part of
> OEP, but we need someplace where we coordinate the principles the
> notes with practice..
>  b) When to use a reasoner and normalisation.
>  c) I am not sure whether it is a note, but it is worth pointing
> people at 'common pitfalls'. One contribution towards that is
>  Other comments below...
>  Christopher Welty wrote:
>  ...
> The partOf relation.  There really isn't that much that can be "said"
> in OWL (and therefore less in RDF) regarding the typical
> axiomatizations of partOf, but knowing the different kinds of partOf
> relations and what they are supposed to mean would be useful.  I'm
> hoping that some subset of Nicola, Alan, and I can take the lead on
> this one, but I also see the need for a couple of notes here, so I
> think this needs further discussion.  For example Deborah expressed
> interest in a simpler note (less ambitious but quicker turnaround) on
> geographical containment.
>  I am happy to take a major role in this, but not until after 6 Dec
> (ISWC plus a major week-long teaching stint - some of which will
> include material on partonomy.)  I shall also be writing a paper on
> the topic or probably two.
>  On the other hand, partonomy is a big topic.   The trick is to keep
> it simple for the simple cases. I suggest that we need at least two
> kinds of notes or note fragments.
>  1)    Notes laying out the classic distinctions, pointing to the the
> literature on merology, and pointing out things like that most users
> of partonomy probably want something that is time specific - X is a
> part of Y at some implied time T (the type is a part of the car now,
> but it may not be after the tyre has been changed) - or normative (Xs
> are considered parts of Ys).  You need one or the other to avoid
> getting into issues about amputated fingers, cat's tails, etc.  Also I
> think we have to say that this area is far from settled so we are
> giving guidance on workable principles plus caveats for controversies.
>  2)    Implementation mechanisms. Transitive properties for simple
> things. SEP triples are related trickse..
>      RegionOfFrance = France or restriction(is_geographical_region_of
> someValuesFrom(France))]
>  property hierarchies showing different relations between containment,
> location and partonomy.
>  3) Also warnings that with current classifiers (possibly excepting
> FaCT++ but we aren't sure yet) large ontologies containing extensive
> networks linked by both has_part and is_part_of (or any other
> transitive relation and its inverse) are potentially combinatorially
> explosive.  If anybody does try to use a classifier it is
> disconcerting to see what seemed to work for a toy run indefinitely
> for something real.
>  Units and measures.  There has been some work on this, including in
> Cyc, Tom Gruber's ontology in Ontolingua, and Helena Sofia-Pinto did a
> nice one for the old SUO effort.  Evan was interested in this and it
> certainly makes sense to have someone at NIST do it.
> Subjects.  The notion of what a subject "is" and what the "subjectOf"
> relation means can be quite confusing.  I have done a lot of work on
> this and am willing to take this one on, however I will want to do one
> at a time.
> Time.  Jerry Hobbs has done a very thorough job putting together a
> consensus ontology of time based on a lot of existing time ontologies,
> most of which draw from the Allen calculus.  The ontology is expressed
> in FOL (KIF), but there are (necessarily simplified) DAML+OIL and OWL
> ("OWL-Time") versions  available.  Jerry has expressed interest in
> seeing this as a W3C note.
>  I'd be very interested in seeing this.
>  Fluents.  Closely tied to the notion of time is being able to say
> that a binary property "holds" for a time. e.g. one may want to say
> that "Chris is a member of the W3C from Sept, 2004 - Sept 2005".  A
> property like memberOf is a fluent because it can be said to hold at a
> time (this is not strictly a correct definition, but it will
> suffice).  While OWL-Time let's you represent a time interval like
> "Sept, 2004-Sept, 2005", it remains neutral wrt what happens at or
> during such a time interval.  The typical move in FOL is to use a
> function or add an argument to the predicate, e.g. memberOf(Chris,
> W3C, time-interval-1), however clearly we can't do that in OWL or RDF,
> since we are limited to binary predicates.  One solution is to go for
> full reification of fluents, as in the exsiting not on n-ary
> relations, however there are some other choices.  I'm hoping I can get
> Pat Hayes and Richard Fikes to work with me on this one.
>  An important distinction for the medical community is whether it is
> the fluent that is reified or the observation of the fluent, i.e.
> whether we have
>  (X as observed by O at time T) is_member_of Group or
>    X is_member_of (Group at time T)
>  The first is the way to describe a log book of observations such as
> the medical record; the second is probably more important for models
> of language phenomena such as the classic "The King of France".
>  The other alternative which fits closely with some indexed notions of
> parthood such as barry Smith's, is
>     X (is_member_of at_time t) Group.
>  but that involves reifying 'is_member_of'
>  On the side of "ontology engineering":
> Ontology 101 tutorial specifically for OWL/RDF.
>  I'd hope that some of the pizza tutorial material could get into
> this, or perhaps beside it.
> There is an interesting comparison - I am not sure it is for a best
> practice note - that the pizzas and wines require different paradigms,
> or at least different emphasis.  Pizzas are primarily about
> construction - pizzas have someValuesFrom topping.  Wines are
> primarily about exclusion - CarbernetSavignon is made only
> (allValuesFrom) CarbernetSauvignonGrapes.
>  I think a note to help orient people on the role OWL and RDF in
> semantic integration is critical, I get pinged on that regularly.  I
> lot of people think OWL is the silver bullet for semantic integration
> (I suggested at ISWC last year that semantic integration is a
> mountain, not a werewolf, and OWL is, at best, a small silver chisel).
> There was just a Dagstuhl symposium on this subject in general (i.e.
> not specific to OWL), and special issues of AI Magazine and Sigmod
> record coming out as well.  I hope Natasha and/or MikeU will take the
> lead on such a note.
>  People who know what "ontology" and "semantics" actually mean (in the
> much larger world outside of computer science), often ask why the two
> have become nearly synonymous on the semantic web.  Personally, I
> think its a fair question and a short note on why we're so confused
> would be worthwhile.  Maybe this goes in another task force (wasn't
> there a clean up the mess we've made task force?)
> We're open to other suggestions.
> -Chris (OEP co-co)
> Dr. Christopher A. Welty, Knowledge Structures Group
> IBM Watson Research Center, 19 Skyline Dr., Hawthorne, NY  10532
> Voice: +1 914.784.7055,  IBM T/L: 863.7055, Fax: +1 914.784.7455
> Email:, Web:
> --
> Alan L Rector
> Professor of Medical Informatics
> Department of Computer Science
> University of Manchester
> Manchester M13 9PL, UK
> TEL: +44-161-275-6188/6149/7183
>  FAX: +44-161-275-6236/6204
> Room: 2.88a, Kilburn Building
> email:
>  web:

Received on Wednesday, 13 October 2004 00:18:34 UTC