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Re: A precedent suggesting a compromise for the SWHCLS IG Best Practices (ARK)

From: Marja Koivunen <marja@annotea.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 15:57:28 -0400
Message-ID: <44EB61A8.2010401@annotea.org>
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
CC: wangxiao@musc.edu, "Miller, Michael D (Rosetta)" <Michael_Miller@Rosettabio.com>, Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, Mark Wilkinson <markw@illuminae.com>, public-semweb-lifesci@w3.org, www-tag@w3.org

I agree, consistent use of terms makes life easier for machines and for 
humans too when the terms have been agreed on, learned, and understood. 
Unfortunately, this takes a lot of effort and dedication from the 
humans. Learning a whole ontology before anything can be done is a bit 
like reading the whole manual of a DVD player before one can use that. 
And we all know that while there are people who actually read the whole 
manual, they are a minority.

As a usability person I always like to see the machines support the 
humans as much as possible and not vice versa.
 In my view, new inventions often start from not so great terms and 
evolve stepwise as learning happens. Often terms are first shared and 
polished in small groups and later links are made between groups that 
may use different terminologies for similar things. If we want to 
support humans doing inventions I think we should support the use of 
different terms, their evolution, and making connections between similar 
terms when they are discovered as much as possible. And I think Semantic 
Web is great for that.


Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

> Yes, indeed.  Machine processing of information relies on
> consistent usage of terms. You can't reuse information for
> new problems when its use requires human intervention to disambiguate  
> it.
> Tim Berners-Lee
> On Aug 10, 2006, at 21:54, wangxiao@musc.edu wrote:
>> Quoting "Miller, Michael D (Rosetta)" <Michael_Miller@Rosettabio.com>:
>>> You're correct here but it is the state of the art.  Interestingly
>>> enough, I've found that in general the biology-based scientists and
>>> investigators are not all that bothered by this confusion and despite
>>> the confusion seem to make their way through it.
>> The problem is that semantic web is intended to make machine to  
>> understand.  And
>> the clarity is a prerequisite to instruct machine unambigously.
>> Xiaoshu
Received on Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:58:08 UTC

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