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Re: [semanticweb] how to explain to humans the term ontology

From: Pierre Grenon <pierregrenon@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 13:39:12 +0100
Message-ID: <c1a7d8fd0601120439y3e7aa4f3h334b59faa031b5f3@mail.gmail.com>
To: Azamat <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy>
Cc: semanticweb@yahoogroups.com, semantic-web@w3.org

On 1/12/06, Azamat <abdoul@cytanet.com.cy> wrote:
> Pierre,
> No need the same errors and confusions to repeat four times (this is how
> many times the public got your  emails).

4 times only? I thought I hit the button 5 times. :) No, really, you
probably received the direct reply and a message from each of the list
you subscribe to. Since you started cross-posting, you deserve them.
As for a fourth time, I don't know, looks like an act of God to me,
maybe thinking it would help you seeing that your rampaging against me
is beside the point if you read my answer 4 times.

> Let me repeat just one time again.
> There is [one General Ontology dealing with the world, its things, beings,
> and relationships], and many [domain ontologies dealing with the specific
> regions, parts, domains, or realms of reality.]
> [Computing ontology is all about the representation of the world, its entity
> states, changes, and relationships, in machine-processible forms].

There'd be a few qualifications to make here, but, look, this is
either false because ontological techniques can be used to represent
alleged facts about non existing entities or trivial. My point was
that such subtleties are better left out of a cursory account of what
ontology in information science is when you are speaking to your
family, neighbours or baker. You are bringing in an enormous amount of
problems which are completely irrelevant for that purpose.

> Always stick to reality and do the reality check in your thinking and
> research. Otherwise you will find youself completely lost in a cacophony of
> 'definitions', like below:
> 'an explicit specification of conceptualization', 'a theory of content', 'a
> theory (a system) of concepts/vocabulary used as building blocks of
> information processing systems', 'a set of agreements about a set of
> concepts', or 'the representation of the semantics of terms and their
> relationships'. Alternatively, it is interpreted as 'the class hierarchy in
> object-oriented paradigm', 'a complete schema of the domain concepts', 'an
> entity-relationship schema with subsumption relations between concepts',
> 'conceptual patterns', 'concept heterarchies or hierarchies', 'a body of
> conceptualizations', 'schemata', or 'metadata scheme', 'a common set of
> terms', 'a controlled vocabulary of terms', 'a representation vocabulary',
> or 'a body of knowledge', etc.
> If real ontology confuses you, read carefully good papers, as i mentioned,'
> The Semantic Web', T. Berners-Lee et. al., if we are on this forum. Here is
> its gist: ''The challenge of the Semantic Web is to provide a language that
> expresses both data and rules for reasoning about the data...''.

I'll stick with writting bad emails. What I said about ontology being
occupied with providing tools and methods for structuring data is
completely compatible with such claim (a claim which presents a
technical challenge but does not constitute a definition of ontology,

> Translate, [the semantic web is aimed to provide one ontological language
> that expresses the information (data) about the world and inference rules
> (mechanisms) about the data].

The semantic web is not the alpha and omega of ontology, nor is
ontology the whole of knowledge representation. Of course, it's good
to see the semantic web come to terms with rules. But again, there'd
be a lot of qualification to make here, all laborious and irrelevant
to communicate the rough essence of CS ontology in three sentences.

> Very easy, if you have some insight into the matter.

But precisely, the challenge was to speak to people who have
absolutely no insights into this and who could care less about
philosophical or technical waxing.


> Cheers,
> Azamat Abdoullaev
> http://www.eis.com.cy
Received on Thursday, 12 January 2006 12:39:17 UTC

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