W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > December 2010

Re: Any reason for ontology reuse?

From: ProjectParadigm-ICT-Program <metadataportals@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2010 12:26:39 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <904598.50062.qm@web113805.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
To: Toby Inkster <tai@g5n.co.uk>, Martin Hepp <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org>
Cc: Percy Enrique Rivera Salas <privera.salas@gmail.com>, public-lod@w3.org, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Dear Martin,

Ad Rule 1. Is true if we can assume the builder of the ontology has built something which is good according to some measurable criteria. For this we have standards and procedures to arrive at standardized sets. We cannot be sloppy when building ontologies e.g. for civil engineering, aerospace, pharmacy, medicine, biodiversity or defense technologies, so why should we then allow sloppy ontologies for most other fields?

Ad Rule 2. More popular and better quality yes , more popular but probably of less quality no. But who makes the judgment calls? The collective of users is never a good judge.

Rules 3 and 4 presuppose that somehow the person building his own ontology or who must pick one from those available has the tools to determine which is best, or how to make a good ontology.

Knowledge and information depend on accurate, for scientific reasons unambiguous recording in natural language, which requires accurate terminology, definitions etc.

The same rigid structures that dictate natural language vocabularies an dictionaries have to apply to ontology engineering as well.

I can safely assume that most of the subscribers to our lists have the intuitive skills to know good from bad ontologies and what is the right practical approach to building a good ontology, but when semantic technologies go mainstream, a lot of people will join the fray who don't, so somewhere along the line some standardization and formal procedures must be introduced.

Dictionaries exist for a reason, and they are made based on corpora and lexicological tools by specialized linguists, and for a good reason, according to standards and standardized procedures for arriving at such.

And since ontologies are structured mirror images of natural language domains it is inevitable and inescapable that good standard ontologies should reflect this as well.

Like in many fields of science and engineering, good rules of thumb are always created by specialists from the same fields who can reduce many rules, standards, based on expert experience to a few rules.

It is this innate ability to create rules of thumb that must be captured in procedures for ontology engineering.

No easy task, but not impossible, and not without standards and methodology, but as bare-bones as possible, because languages are dynamic and flexible and ever evolving.

Milton Ponson
GSM: +297 747 8280
PO Box 1154, Oranjestad
Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
Project Paradigm: A structured approach to bringing the tools for sustainable development to all stakeholders worldwide by creating ICT tools for NGOs worldwide and: providing online access to web sites and repositories of data and information for sustainable development

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--- On Sat, 12/4/10, Martin Hepp <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org> wrote:

From: Martin Hepp <martin.hepp@ebusiness-unibw.org>
Subject: Re: Any reason for ontology reuse?
To: "Toby Inkster" <tai@g5n.co.uk>
Cc: "Percy Enrique Rivera Salas" <privera.salas@gmail.com>, public-lod@w3.org, "Semantic Web" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Date: Saturday, December 4, 2010, 1:07 PM

Simple rules:

1. It is better to use an existing ontology than inventing your own.
2. It is better to use the most popular existing ontology than a less popular existing ontology.
3. It is better to publish your data using your own ontology than not publishing your data at all.
4. It is better to use a good (*) private ontology for publishing your data than using a messy private ontology.

(*) A good ontology is one that preserves the largest share of the original conceptual distinctions in your data, i.e. it does not require merging entity types that are distinct in the original data, as long as this distinction matters for potential data consumers.

Whether option #1 is feasible depends on

1. how much time and money you are willing into lifting / publishing your data (that will be a matter of economic incentives).
2. how complicated it is to populate that ontology based on the available data and the local schemas.



On 04.12.2010, at 09:27, Toby Inkster wrote:

> On Fri, 3 Dec 2010 18:15:08 -0200
> Percy Enrique Rivera Salas <privera.salas@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I would like to know, which are the specific reason(s),
>> for reuse terms from well-known vocabularies in the process of Publish
>> Linked Data on the Web?
> Consider this question: I would like to know, which are the specific
> reason(s) for reusing well-known words in the process of publishing
> English text on the Web?
> Answer: When you're writing something in English, you should avoid
> inventing new words unless you're fairly sure that a word for the
> concept you're trying to describe does not exist. This is because if
> you invent a new word, you need to describe what it means for other
> people to be able to understand you. And even when you do that, you've
> increased the cognitive load for your readers.
> URIs are the vocabulary of linked data, just like words are the
> vocabulary of the English language. For analogous reasons, you should
> avoid minting new URIs when an existing URI will do. If you mint a new
> URI that means the same as an existing one, then not only do you have
> to go to the effort of documenting its meaning, but consumers have to
> perform extra work (such as subproperty/subclass inferencing) to
> understand it.
> --Toby A Inkster
> <mailto:mail@tobyinkster.co.uk>
> <http://tobyinkster.co.uk>

martin hepp
e-business & web science research group
universitaet der bundeswehr muenchen

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Received on Saturday, 4 December 2010 20:33:55 UTC

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