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Re: Representation - KIF vs Protege [was Re: [ontolog-forum] Personas

To: Ontolog Forum <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Kurt Conrad <conrad@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2003 10:18:05 -0700
Message-id: <>
At 2003-08-07 09:48 -0700, Adam Pease wrote:
>More people are familiar with XML.  It has a larger user base and 
>tool set, so why not just create XML rather than worry about ontologies?    (01)

While I find this argument to be dismissive, it may point to the core 
issues underlying the current debate.    (02)

The question is not whether or not to create a XML 
representation.  That decision has been made (by another, larger 
group).  The vast majority of the work has been done.  And the XML 
version will almost certainly be ready before the fully-formalized 
ontological version.  Why, because more people are familiar with XML; 
it has a larger user base and tool set; and -- perhaps more 
fundamentally -- it is an appropriate fit for the targeted 
utilization scenarios.    (03)

 From my perspective, it seems clear that the "UBL ontology" will 
take a variety of forms.  Each representation will have relative 
strengths and weaknesses.  In sort, logical expressiveness is only 
one measure of value.  Clearly, the XML representation of UBL is 
well-optimized for some uses, but weak -- or even inadequate -- for 
others.  That was the basis for our decision to create a formalized 
ontology based on the UBL concepts.  What other representations 
should be produced?  I don't know.    (04)

While I can follow this discussion at a general level, I don't have a 
sufficient grasp of the subtleties to have strong opinions regarding 
ontological tools and languages.  In fact, about the only bias that I 
have is one of creeping incrementalism: Start your semantic 
formalization simply, and add complexity and richness as your 
requirements, understanding, and resources warrant it.    (05)

 From my vantage point, I'm seeing indications that a KIF 
representation might not be the best fit for all usage and 
interaction scenarios.  This observation does not imply that a KIF 
representation should not be produced, or even how and when.  Rather, 
it suggests that to meet a broad set of user requirements (perhaps, 
even, including the needs of the Ontolog modeling community) work on 
KIF needs to be balanced with work on other technology platforms.    (06)

I guess this leads me to a corollary question: Does the decision to 
produce an ontology in KIF effectively preclude working with any 
other languages and/or platforms?  If so, are the tradeoffs acceptable?    (07)

Or, looking at it from the requirements side: What representations 
are needed?  Is KIF adequate to handle all of the expected 
utilization scenarios?    (08)

/s/ kwc 2003.08.07 10:17    (09)

Kurt Conrad
2994 Salem Dr.                     408-247-0454
Santa Clara, CA 95051-5502         408-247-0457 (data/fax)
http://www.SagebrushGroup.com      mailto:conrad@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (010)

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