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[ontolog-forum] Purpose and Utility (Extends Visual Complexity)

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Rex Brooks <rexb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 06:56:42 -0800
Message-id: <p0624050fc1e7a35053c5@[]>
I have found the previous discussion under the Subject Line Thread: 
Visual Complexity very fruitful and timely in terms of my own needs. 
I am in the process of attempting to bring the use of an ontological 
representation using OWL-DL into an OASIS standard specification 
writing task.    (01)

Without going into details which are publicly available on the OASIS 
Emergency Management Technical Committee site, this effort would be 
aimed at providing a Reference Information Model for the Emergency 
Data Exchange Language (EDXL) family of specifications I mentioned in 
last week's panel discussion.    (02)

http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2007_01_25    (03)

(To view those details you need to be willing to learn how to use the 
document repository system, which is not well described, but in 
essence you choose to select TCs by name in the left most column of 
the oasis welcome page http://www.oasis-open.org, select the TC of 
your choice, select "documents" from the TC welcome page and explore 
using the repository. It is not intuitive but also not impossible, 
and you can read the email archives, download documents, etc.)    (04)

This model would aim at a level of abstraction below that of a 
Reference Model per se, and above that of the informational Document 
Object Models of the individual EDXL specifications. The intent is 
provide an overarching set of concepts and their relationships that 
is common to all of the specifications belonging to this group and 
especially for those which are currently being planned, researched 
and for which requirements are being gathered.    (05)

I am pointing all this to establish the fact that what I am 
discussing pertains to practical applications.    (06)

There are a number of factors that are bringing this evolution of 
standards development to this particular passage, but the proximate 
trigger is that, for the first time in my memory, the TC received an 
external comment asking for an ontologically consistent base for the 
EDXL Hospital AVailability Exchange specification which just finished 
its 60-day Public Review. (Note: This is my paraphrase, the actual 
comment was not phrased as a request, but as a comment that EDXL_HAVE 
narrowly defined its terms in a context-dependent fashion as opposed 
to an ontology convention.)    (07)

However, what piques my interest is the difference the previous 
thread surfaced between the concept of ontology evaluation based on 
"fit for purpose" on the one hand, and in terms of various 
intentional and unintentional "utility" on the other. Kathryn 
Laskey's set of utility functions, especially as it sets the stage 
for decision-supporting ontologies that Bob Smith mentioned last week 
interests me, and I am wondering if anyone cares to expand on that 
concept and how it differs from the "fit for purpose" criterion 
which, in the pragmatic world, is an imperative requirement since we 
have to solve or address specific "situational" challenges.    (08)

Rex Brooks
President, CEO
Starbourne Communications Design
GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison
Berkeley, CA 94702
Tel: 510-849-2309    (09)

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