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Re: LANG: need to CLOSE Issue 5.6 Imports as magic syntax

From: Jeff Heflin <heflin@cse.lehigh.edu>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 09:38:09 -0500
Message-ID: <3DBFEED1.3EC6E1EE@cse.lehigh.edu>
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
CC: webont <www-webont-wg@w3.org>

I believe we cannot in good conscience postpone imports. Until we
resolve this issue, we cannot release a TR for the language. In fact, I
would strongly oppose releasing another working draft until we have a
resolution on this issue.

Why is imports so important? Without it, we cannot build Semantic Web
agent applications or have Semantic Web based e-commerce. Imports is the
only feature in the language that guarantees people have common meaning
for the same terms. Any application where money or contracts is involved
needs a definitive way of resolving what is meant that does not depend
on a particular user or implementation policy decision. Imports is one
way of doing this on the Semantic Web. Furthermore, imports has been a
common feature in ontology languages for at least the last 10 years
(although it goes by the name of ontology commitment, ontology
inclusion, or ontology extension). If we don't have this feature, then
we don't have an ontology language and better change the names of our
language and our working group.

I have proposed a workable solution that is easy to specify and that, as
far as I know, does not break anybody's application. I have
implementation experience with this kind of solution (SHOE, one of the
first fully-implemented Semantic Web languages has this as a central
feature). I'm sure the others in the working group who have worked with
ontologies have similar design experience.

It is critical that we resolve this issue as soon as possible. I suggest
we work hard to find a solution that everyone can live with and put it
in our next working draft.


Dan Connolly wrote:
> I find some of the recent design discussion interesting, and
> I'm still mulling over the 9Oct suggestion from Hayes...
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2002Oct/0057.html
> but I just ran this by my colleagues again, and my position
> is still that we should POSTPONE this issue; take
> it out of owl until the next version.
> Imports is really quite different from the rest of the
> terms in our spec. The other terms, like FunctionalProperty
> and such, refer to pretty crisp mathematical notions
> that can be translated to first order logic (or
> axiomatized or whatever). Even with the 9Oct suggestion
> from Hayes to give a formal specification for imports
> involves a pretty substantial change to the interpretation
> structure.
> Peter noted the connection to the RDF concepts material
> on "social meaning" of RDF documents; I'm more optimistic
> about that material than he is, but I agree that it's pretty immature.
> I'd like to get a lot more implementation experience in
> this design space before I commit to Recommendation level
> support for it.
> I hope folks will consider whether they could live
> without a standardized design for this feature for
> a year or so.
> --
> Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Wednesday, 30 October 2002 09:38:15 UTC

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