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Re: FAQ : Is this vocabulary currently curated?

From: Martin Hepp <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 12:11:53 +0100
Cc: public-vocabs@w3.org
Message-Id: <43AAB9B6-17DC-445F-AC5F-440033C063CC@ebusiness-unibw.org>
To: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Hi Bernard,
On Nov 22, 2011, at 10:00 AM, Bernard Vatant wrote:

> Hi Martin
> Thanks for breaking the silence, even to say that I should not waste time and energy on this :)
You are welcome! I did not want to say that the approach is a sure waste of time; I just wanted to explain why it is  low priority for me as an ontology maintainer.

> 2011/11/21 Martin Hepp <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org>
> Hi Bernard:
> My position is that while such meta-data can be useful, it is not mission-critical, because it is uncertain whether a declarative approach is sufficient or appropriate in here.
> Not sufficient certainly but useful nevertheless if it allows any potential adopter to send a signal to the actual curator and get feedback. It's not simply putting some declarative boolean (curated Y/N) in the vocabulary, but ensure that if I have questions or suggestions about the vocabulary evolution, there is a place I can send it and I'll get feedback. 
> I would assume that in real, Web-scale scenarios, you need to derive the respective information from a multiplicity of signals, e.g.
> - adoption rate in data
> Adoption rate is a signal that the vocabulary is useful, not that there is still someone taking care of it. Take the example of http://www.aktors.org/ontology/portal. This vocabulary is the kind of "academic" ontology you like so much. The last publication date is 2003. The documentation page indicated in dc:source and rdfs:seeAlso http://d3e.open.ac.uk/akt/2002/ref-onto.html seems dead, making your point that it has been developed in a research project and forgotten on a shelf.
> It's used nevertheless in quite a few datasets. See http://thedatahub.org/tag/format-akt. Of course you may argue that those datasets have as little significance as the vocabularies they stand upon, but ...

There may be cases like that, but I would assume that on a global scale, people will not keep up support for a format that is no longer supported by its owner, at least as soon as someone has to justify the underlying investment in a corporation. A good way to handle such cases would be for someone to republish the ontology under a new base URI and to add sameAs, equivalentClass, equivalentProperty axioms.

> - HTTP header information
> Not sure how HTTP information gives you clue about curation.
For example 

Last-Modified: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 07:36:54 GMT
Content-Length: 186700
and maybe
ETag: "11080169-2d94c-4b1fd66a87180"

> etc.
> I would expect that most dead vocabularies on the Web, created in some PhD thesis project and long abandoned by its creator would still bear the "actively maintained" flag in the code.
> Indeed, has 404 documentation as seen above. But not curated does not mean "dead" if they are indeed used. 
Yes, but I think as soon as adopting the ontology has a business dimension, I think that a non-maintained ontology will be the very last resort.

> Also, as of now, the number of relevant Web ontologies is pretty small,
> I'm no-one to decide if an ontology is "relevant" or not. You seem to know best
I am just frank in my assessment of which ontologies will fly at Web scale. 

> and have decide that anything coming out of a PhD thesis is irrelevant.

I never said that. I am just saying that developing Web ontologies that are here to stay is a huge effort, while important for the SW to fly, and that I am puzzled by the limited willingness of the SW community to build the ontologies needed for realizing the vision they perpetually preach.

> All users of the "aktors" ontology above have found it useful at some point, I'm no one to judge if they were right to do so or not.
Me neither, but again - it would be better to take care of the good work, deploy it in a new namespace, and make sure it is properly maintained.

Abandoned ontologies are similar to unexploded ordnance devices from WW II. They put uninformed visitors to the SW grounds at risk, and some day, a brave specialist has to disarm them to save all the data.
It would be way better if the community properly disposed of their abandoned ontologies from the SW 1.0 era.

> so it is unclear whether an automated approach is cost-efficient.
> I don't know what you mean by that.

I meant that you cannot naively interpret the signals from your annotations anyway, so the question is whether the total effort of getting this approach adopted is justified.
Your proposal will only make it if you are willing to fight for it for the next years, provide support and assistance, foster tool development, etc.

No Web ontology or extension will fly if you just propose it to the public. An specification without community support is not yet an ontology ;-)

Received on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:12:37 UTC

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