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Re: [ontolog-forum] Model or Reality

To: <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2007 19:55:43 +0100
Message-id: <808637A57BC3454FA660801A3995FA8F057F8786@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Adrian,
There seems to be a tension.  On the one hand, a useful ontology is supposed to be "right", in the sense that it will not be necessary or desirable to change it much.   
MW: I would express this as being "not wrong" rather than "right". By which I mean that it is (generally) a bigger problem if an ontology contains a statement that is incorrect, than that it omits one that is correct.
 On the other hand, an ontology is supposed to capture some aspects of the changeable real world.  But, if an ontology is used to support, say,  interoperation of 100 legacy systems in an SOA architecture, then making a change could break many of the interoperations.

So, a key aspect of using ontologies in practical situation would appear to be to have some reliable change management method or better, change management software.  The software would have to be able to run automated regression tests over the entire collection of SOA of legacy systems after each change to the ontology.  Also, the software would need a user interface  that business folks could understand, without mediation by IT specialists.

Sounds like quite a challenge.  Or, is there a better way? 
MW: I know this as Enterprise Architecture, which is all about engineering the changes in an enterprise including it supporting informatoin systems as one whole system. 


Matthew West
Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager
Shell International Petroleum Company Limited
Registered in England and Wales
Registered number: 621148
Registered office: Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7934 4490 Mobile: +44 7796 336538
Email: matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx

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