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Re: [ontolog-forum] {Disarmed} Re: OWL and lack of identifiers

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 18:28:28 -0400
Message-id: <461EB28C.4030708@xxxxxxxx>
Bill Andersen wrote:    (01)

> I don't much like the sound of this.  I thought ontologies were supposed 
> to be explicit (albeit partial) accounts of the meaning of terms.      (02)

I think we should make a distinction here.    (03)

In RDF, the URI is the canonical orthography for the term.  The term itself is 
the resource.  Conceptually, to make sense of the meaning of the term, you 
would have to fetch the whole ontology in which the term is defined, because 
the proper construal of the term in whatever use you want to make of it may 
well be affected by some more distantly related elements of that ontology. 
(This is just the well-known adage that the transitive closure of a single 
property is often the whole knowledge base.)    (04)

But RDF is a very special case of the use of URIs.    (05)

What Ken said was that, in general, you have to determine from the context of 
occurrence of a URI whether it is a reference to the place or the content of 
that place.  Peter's announcement of an Ontolog Forum event involves a URL 
which is a *place* at which various information about that event can be found. 
  By comparison, a URL reference to a W3C specification is usually intended to 
be a reference to the resource itself -- the document (or its intellectual 
content).    (06)

People are good at determining the intent from the context; the problem is 
that software tools aren't.  (But we are getting there.  Unstructured text 
processing is no longer a pipe dream.)    (07)

-Ed    (08)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (09)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (010)

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