I'm in favor of the proposed charter changes: I think it brings us
closer to what we are actually about now. (02)
With respect to definitions of ontologies, I hope to send a portion of a
briefing I made at the Army Knowledge Management Conference in Ft.
Lauderdale late Aug/early Sept of 2004, that takes you through the
ontology spectrum, from taxonomy (weak and strong) to thesaurus (a
strong term taxonomy+) to conceptual model (weak ontology) to logical
theory (strong ontology). The first is unstandardized, the second and
third each has a set of standards associated with them, the third and
fourth have multiple representation languages supporting them, and the
last has some logic behind the representation language, typically
ranging from a description logic (OWL) to first-order logic (KIF, Common
Logic) to a higher order logic. (03)
A logical theory is a formal ontology. The others range from informal to
semi-formal. Other informal ontologies can be natural language sentences
in a document. The key point about formal ontologies (logical theories)
is that they are machine-interpretable, i.e., semantically interpretable
by machine. The others are not, are only interpretable by human beings,
though they may be machine-readable and machine-processable. (04)
Hope this helps a bit. (05)
Peter Yim wrote:
> Good questions, Duane.
> Before I start to answer, let me pull out the our current
> charter: (ref: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl#nid011 )
> = Charter of the Ontolog Forum =
> Ontolog is an open forum to:
> * Discuss practical issues and strategies associated with
> the development of both formal and informal ontologies used in
> * Identify ontological engineering approaches that might be
> applied to the UBL effort (and by extension, to the broader
> domain of eBusiness standardization efforts).
> 1. ref your question about formal definitions -- we don't really
> have definitions of an "ontology" that is "adopted" by Ontolog
> per se. For me (who roots for the 'augmentation' camp, and not
> the 'AI' camp), I would start from Tom Gruber's definition that
> an ontology is a specification of a conceptualization, and extend
> from there to say that a 'formal' ontology is a specification of
> a conceptualization represented in a formal logic language; and
> an 'informal' ontology is a specification of a conceptualization
> represented and shared in a language that may, or may not be
> fully formal and computable.
> Of course, there are people who would argue that the latter can't
> even be called an ontology (but then ... that would only be a
> naming issue).
> One might refer to the Tom Gruber interview on AIS SIGSEMIS at
> (an article that Bob Smith alluded me to earlier, and which I
> have seen quoted by Brand Niemann and Mary Pulvermacher of Mitre
> since) when he did discuss formal, informal and semi-formal
> ontologies (see para. 3 in the article).
> As for various discussions on definitions of ontologies, as well
> as the treatment of the big 'O' (the philosopher's Ontology) and
> the small 'o' (the computer scientist's ontology), that have
> appeared in our space, I recall the following, which are all
> worth referring back to (I'm sure I have missed some too):
> (a) Slides 9~13 of the presentation by Obrst/Park/Yim
> (2-Apr-2002) that effectively started Ontolog (or the precursor
> of it) - ref:
> (b) definition on the W3C OWL Use Cases and Requirements (mainly
> Leo Obrst's contribution)
> (c) wikipedia entries - both big 'O' and small 'o'
> For both of the above, see:
> (d) Bo Newman's post (ref. both big and small 'O'):
> (e) Bill McCarthy's post (ref. enterprise ontologies):
> (f) see also: Robert Garigue's post:
> 2. As to why 'UBL' ... that's inherited
> (a) of course, because I copied that from the original charter
> (see above),
> (b) for those who may not be aware, the Ontolog discussion
> actually started at the UBL TC (the original list address was
> <ubl-ontolog@xxxxxxxx> no less) in May 2002, and then spun off
> from there (due to a mismatch of time-lines) and reconstituted as
> the Ontolog Forum in Sep. 2002, and
> (c) the first and foremost Ontolog project, and the one its
> members got together for, was actually to build the "UBL-Ontology".
> (d) we have been, and are still getting moral support from UBL
> and its leadership ... which I deeply appreciate.
> 3. ... Do we want to do this?
> I like it there (for the above reasons) ... but that's me. Maybe
> we can talk about it, if people want to bring that up during our
> Thursday (2005.02.02) planning session.
> Regards. =ppy
> Duane Nickull wrote Tue, 01 Mar 2005 13:30:03 -0800:
> > Peter:
> > Some comments and questions inline:
> > ProposedCharter = Ontolog is an open, international, virtual community
> > of practice, whose membership will:
> >> * Discuss practical issues and strategies associated with the
> >> development and application of both formal and informal ontologies.
> > DN - is there a formal definition of "formal" vs. "informal" ontologies?
> >> * Identify ontological engineering approaches that might be applied
> >> to the UBL effort, as well as to the broader domain of eBusiness
> >> standardization efforts.
> > DN - why would we distinguish UBL above others? Do we want to do this?
> > (note - I have no opinion on this).
> > Duane
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