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Re: How to find a proper ontology for my classes and properties?

From: Enrico Motta <e.motta@open.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 18:52:18 +0000
Message-Id: <p06240806c8f4b8cbe3f6@[137.108.24.137]>
To: Lee Feigenbaum <lee@thefigtrees.net>
Cc: Enrico Motta <e.motta@open.ac.uk>, Juriy Katkov <katkov.juriy@gmail.com>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
>>
>>
>>Uhm...this is certainly true for the simple scenarios, but certainly not
>>in general. Of course, if I just have data about people and dogs and I
>>simply want to link them with a property 'hasOwner', it is unlikely I am
>>going to lose much by defining my own property and then worrying later
>>about interoperability with other repositories. But if your model is a
>>bit more complex and you have to handle any of the hundreds of modelling
>>issues which people have been researching for the past 30 years (e.g.,
>>agency, roles, meta-properties, time, space, part-of, etc. etc..), then
>>it may be a good idea to dig out existing modelling solutions rather
>>than trying to come up with your own solution, which will take far more
>>time and will likely be sub-optimal.
>
>Sure - but these are two qualitatively different questions, and it 
>seemed to me that the OP was asking about simple vocabulary reuse.
>
>Just as it's rarely a good idea to write software libraries from 
>scratch rather than reuse existing, tried and true code libraries, 
>complex models should also be sought out and reused. I don't think 
>the ontology search engines are a great way to go about that though. 
>I'd almost never recommend that someone perform a "foobar 
>filetype:java" google search to find a Java library to reuse dealing 
>with foobar, as I'm likely to have a great deal of difficulty 
>telling the wheat from the chaff. If I'm looking for a solution for 
>a complex modeling challenge, using an arbitrary ontology that 
>matches a search term like "role" or "event" or "units" or what-not 
>seems as likely to be a bad idea as rolling my own. (Perhaps even a 
>worse idea, because my sub-par home-rolled solution is more likely 
>to at least address my immediate use cases in a reasonable fashion.)
>
>That said, sites like http://ontologydesignpatterns.org/ are a 
>tremendous value for this sort of search, and it'd be great if we 
>had more actively evolving resources of this sort.
>
>>You can do this by browsing repositories such as
>>http://ontologydesignpatterns.org/ or, as folks have already pointed
>>out, by using any of the various ontology search engines, such as
>>swoogle, falcon, sindice, watson, etc.. And because at least some of
>>these are integrated with ontology editors (e.g., there is a
>>watson-based plugin for the neon toolkit - see
>>http://neon-toolkit.org/wiki/Watson_for_Knowledge_Reuse), you can very
>>quickly search for relevant properties (or classes or individuals) and
>>then quickly add any useful results from your search to the ontology you
>>are developing.
>
>Right, but there's an awful lot of subtlty and effort hidden in that 
>word "useful" in that last sentence -- it's often near impossible to 
>tell which results are useful and which are not!

I think this is a bit extreme. I use these tools all the time and 
actually I find them  quite useful.  Having said so, you are 
absolutely right that much more needs to be done to provide better 
support for search and reuse. In particular we need better ways to 
help users to make sense of the results delivered by search engines 
and also we need new ways to integrate the benefits of approaches 
such as  http://ontologydesignpatterns.org/ with the flexibility, 
scale and openness of the ontology search engines.

Enrico



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Received on Monday, 1 November 2010 18:52:55 UTC

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