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Re: [ontolog-forum] Visual Complexity

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Jack Park <jack.park@xxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 08:24:48 -0800
Message-id: <45BF7150.9090508@xxxxxxx>
The OpenOntology page is interesting. Perhaps, particularly the link to 
Dylan's "The times are changing" is quite appropriate. Seems the times 
are, indeed, changin'. Doug Engelbart's call for mounting a collective 
assault on the many complex and urgent problems facing humanity seems 
ever more crucial. Al Einstein's (approximate) "we won't solve 
tomorrow's problems with today's thinking" also strikes home. It is with 
great pleasure that I take this opportunity to comment on Paola's call 
for an Open Ontology.    (01)

In 2004, Steven Newcomb came to this forum [1] and spoke of topic maps. 
In 2006, Patrick Durusau and I came to this forum [2] and spoke of 
subject maps (perhaps: topic maps on steroids) and cultural federation, 
a term I coined to tell a particular story. (Let's agree up front that I 
  don't hold prior IP rights to that term, but I'd like to think I'm 
tackling an enormously complex social demon by resurrecting the term in 
the context of facilitating for everyone a view of the artifacts of 
other cultures without prior biases).    (02)

Paola opens with:
> With the term 'open ontology' we refer to a given set of agreed terms, both 
>in terms of conceptualization and semantic formalization, that has been 
>developed based on public consultation, that embodies and represents and 
>synthesizes all available, valid knowledge that is deemed to pertain to a 
>given domain, and is necessary to fulfill a given functional requirement.    (03)

I suspect that most all members of this forum will agree with the 
argument that the search for agreed terms, any kind of terms, is, at 
once, problematic, and, um, problematic. I'm trying to be kind here. The 
search for a SUO appears to remain elusive. The arguments of the 
topic/subject maps folks have been that you might not need that 
agreement you seek, that it's a reasonable goal just to capture what it 
is that all people think, ponder it, discuss it, but not enforce 
"agreement" (whatever that might mean) through fiat judgments or even 
democratic votes.  An "Open Ontology" (whatever that means, and I think 
that's the nature of Paola's inquiry) need not seek agreement; rather it 
might simply need to capture "what people think".    (04)

I am not arguing that there isn't a need for an agreed-upon ontology *in 
certain circumstances*, as we would expect from, say, a physician, a 
lawyer, or, dammit, a politician. But, does an Open Ontology need to be 
so? I would argue to the contrary. My, um, suggestion is that an Open 
Ontology, like Wikipedia, should try to tell all possible stories, from 
which individual tribes can draw as they fabricate context-sensitive 
ontologies to suit particular needs. I would like to think of an Open 
Ontology as one from which students can learn and to which domain 
experts can contribute without expectation of massive debate. A little 
chiding or polite argument, perhaps, but not debate.    (05)

I offer these suggestions for requirements:    (06)

* Open means just that: Open. Really open.    (07)

* Really Open means open to all sorts of subjects being "ontologized" -- 
that in search of the many potential synergies that emerge across often 
disparate disciplines    (08)

* Really Open means that some classes/subjects/whatever can "ontologize" 
conflicting statements about "reality" (whatever that is). I have 
likened such conflicts as the equivalent of "wormholes", where each 
conflicting statement stands as a tiny, perhaps irritating light 
beckoning a viewer to take an "alice in wonderland" trip into another 
dimension (world view) just to see where the statement is coming from. I 
see that as facilitating opportunities for chance discovery. As a social 
enterprise (not unlike tagging, blogging, etc), over the long haul, the 
knowledge base can be "self correcting." In specialized, authoritative 
ontologies, being "self correcting" doesn't build confidence. In an Open 
Ontology, as with Wikipedia, quite the opposite seems true.    (09)

* Facilities for discussion be provided, particularly in light of such 
things as purple numbers or what I call "augmented storytelling" [3], 
that is, respect for Doug Engelbart's call for high-performance 
addressability of information resources, rendering statements linkable 
and discussable at a much finer granularity than generally available    (010)

* Functionality that supports detection of "same subject" 
representations, just to keep the ontology "on the same page" with each 
class, instance, property, or relationship    (011)

* Self-documenting architecture: every property and relationship used 
is, itself, a first-class citizen in the same ontology -- for purposes 
of full disclosure of the meanings (whatever those are) of each entity 
in support of merging, linking, and more. That includes the rules 
applied to same-subject detection.    (012)

* Editorial rights granted only to authors and superusers; unlike 
traditional wikis, the facility should not permit others to overwrite 
the works of others. The platform should facilitate structured 
discussions, perhaps along the lines of IBIS as suggested in [3].    (013)

* Only authenticated individuals get any editorial rights.    (014)

* A reputation and trust architecture rightfully belongs to whatever 
platform facilitates the fabrication and maintenance of an Open Ontology.    (015)

It should be no surprise to some that I just described requirements that 
subject maps want to satisfy. Subject maps can be crafted in any way you 
like, even as a spreadsheet. So, it should also be no surprise that one 
could hack a subject map in OWL. I'm not sufficiently conversant in OWL 
to do so, so I just blaze solo trails in Java. It's all the same.    (016)

I stand in violently respectful agreement with Paola's other "requirements".    (017)

[1] http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2004_06_10
[2] http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2006_04_27
[3] http://www.nexist.org/nsc2004/    (018)

paola.dimaio@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
> HI Deborah
> with this thread I feel my arm is twisted to open up one of the topics
> that I am working on before I manage to publish a paper - but
> hopefully that will follow.
> The need has been identified for usability and ease of use in general
> of ontologies and related instruments - I think the need now is 'write
> requirements', also Rex Brooks confirmed that they need these kind of
> high level guidelines so that 'ontology specifications' can be written
> to fol low (standard development practice, surprisingly not followed
> in ontology engineering)
> What you mention here, looks to me like a requirement for the Open
> Ontology concept
> I opened a page, although I am reserving some rights there
> so please feel free to evolve (for progress' sake)
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?PaolaDiMaio/Towards_OpenOntology
> Look forward to contribution
> Cheers
> Cause times, are changing
> http://tinyurl.com/2gjprn
> On 1/30/07, Deborah MacPherson <debmacp@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Please see this collection when you have time:
>> http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/
>> In the future, when upper level ontologies are defined, many of the examples
>> shown here could help untrained users. The terms and precise definitions
>> [ontolog-forum] is seeking may never be known by users, the precise
>> definitions of various ontologies may only be useful to people making them
>> rather than the people benefiting from them.
>> What definitions and standards are out there in terms of number of items on
>> a screen? number of steps?
>> Thank you,
>> Deborah MacPherson
>> --
>> *************************************************
>> Deborah MacPherson
>> www.accuracyandaesthetics.com
>> www.deborahmacpherson.com
>>    (019)

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