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OWL reasoner, validator, editor ...

From: Bernard Vatant <bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2003 00:34:01 +0200
To: <www-webont-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <GOEIKOOAMJONEFCANOKCIEFECHAA.bernard.vatant@mondeca.com>

Follow-up to my "awkward" croosposting from Protégé discussion list, and
previous private answer to Dan.

> crossposting is awkward.

Apologies again for the mess. The current message is only to this WG.

> And it's not clear that this is WG business.

Well, was not completely clear to me when I posted it, but I'm not sure it
is not this WG task to define some guidelines about various tools that are
likely to be used to deal with OWL in various ways, to avoid people the
kind of confusion I've myself been into for a while (and maybe still am).

> Does Protege claim to export only consistent ontologies?

No, of course currently it is not. But users would and will expect from a
software calling itself an ontology editor, providing an OWL export
facility, some kind of control at editing time. And at least some hints on
what is checked and/or what is not.

> > OWL validators as well, such as http://owl.bbn.com/validator/
> I don't believe that tool claims any sort of completeness.

No, it is not. But what is misleading is that users see the tool detect
some types of inconsistencies, so will improperly and joyfully infer that
it detects *all* inconsistencies.

> Perhaps "validator" is a misleading term. It's not defined
> in the specs. The spec uses terms like "complete OWL DL
> consistency checker".

Agreed. So what should we do about those misleading terms? Is it this part
of this WG business to provide recommendations about the minimal level of
semantic control an application has to provide to be called an "OWL editor"
or an "OWL validator" or other qualificatives that are likely to pop up
("OWL checker", "OWL wizard" ...). Or shall we look away from those
disgusting things, stick to "complete OWL DL consistency checker", and let
implementers and users sort out the confusion that will result from all
those applications providing only partial and ill-defined semantic control?

On Protégé list, Peter Crowther answered : "Given the many, many more
complex cases of inconsistency, it doesn't seem sensible to give error
messages for the trivial ones and not for others." I'm not sure I agree
with that from the  mainstream user viewpoint. People are used to several
levels of checking, like XML well-formed vs XML valid against a scheme,
orthographic checkup vs grammatical checkup, etc ... Does not it make sense
to envision OWL editors checking at editing time for trivial local
inconsistencies, and defering to more powerful reasoners the task of
detecting the more difficult inconsistencies?

Bernard Vatant
Senior Consultant
Knowledge Engineering
Mondeca - www.mondeca.com
Received on Monday, 6 October 2003 18:34:15 UTC

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