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Re: [ontolog] Request for Input

To: ontolog@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 17:08:21 -0500
Message-id: <>
At 01:50 AM 11/25/2002, Kurt wrote:
>For the few people still haven't provided an introductory statement, this 
>is an ideal time to do so....    (01)

Okay Kurt, you smoked me out. My statement, such as it is:    (02)

Although mindful, in general, of the pivotal importance of work on 
ontologies, and interested, in principle, in its progress, I have hesitated 
to post to this list out of a lack of confidence in my experience and 
authority in this area. I come from a rather different background from many 
of you (though possibly not all): originally I was trained in Classical 
Philology and Poetics, and turned from that to get a Ph.D. in English 
(literature and critical theory), which I received in 1991. Since 1994 or 
so I have been working with markup technologies (SGML, XML, XSLT), 
especially in their applications to publishing and to other uses 
particularly of interest to humanists (such as textual analysis and 
hypermedia). Since 1998 I have been at Mulberry Technologies, a small but 
active firm in the markup languages industry. Our work for clients includes 
both design and design-related services, and "softer" work helping to plan 
and make transitions, including providing training, independent design 
reviews, vendor-neutral advice on implementation, and so forth.    (03)

So although this has given me (so far) little exposure to formal ontologies 
as such, the work I have done may be as near to them as might be without 
being actually among them. I confess this may make me something of a 
skeptic, since I tend to be fairly demanding in my assessment both of the 
practical aspects (the hands-on problems) and of the philosophical 
assumptions built into any technological approach to a problem. 
Nevertheless I hope to be an open-minded and forward-looking skeptic: 
without feeling able to say more, I can certainly assert that ontologies 
address one of the core problems in information processing, and that many 
of the visionary ideas now circulating will be impossible without robust 
and well-managed ontological frameworks.    (04)

Readers of this list may be interested in a couple of papers I've written 
on some of the theoretical problems facing markup language designers: 
please see
http://www.piez.org/wendell/critique.htm or 
http://www.idealliance.org/papers/extreme02/authors.html (under "Piez", 
naturally).    (05)

Best regards,
Wendell    (06)

Wendell Piez                            mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.                http://www.mulberrytech.com
17 West Jefferson Street                    Direct Phone: 301/315-9635
Suite 207                                          Phone: 301/315-9631
Rockville, MD  20850                                 Fax: 301/315-8285
   Mulberry Technologies: A Consultancy Specializing in SGML and XML
======================================================================    (07)

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An archive of the [ontolog] forum can be found
at http://ontolog.cim3.org/forums/ontolog    (08)
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