Here is a link to a paper by Kim Veltman:
This paper argues that the computing community (and semantic web crowd in particular) has been overly fixated on first order logic and has failed thus far to produce a semantic web that is suitable for culture. The abstract reads:
Today’s semantic web deals with meaning in a very restricted sense and offers static
solutions. This is adequate for many scientific, technical purposes and for business
transactions requiring machine-to-machine communication, but does not answer the
needs of culture. Science, technology and business are concerned primarily with the latest
findings, the state of the art, i.e. the paradigm or dominant world-view of the day. In this
context, history is considered non-essential because it deals with things that are out of
By contrast, culture faces a much larger challenge, namely, to re-present changes in ways
of knowing; changing meanings in different places at a given time (synchronically) and
over time (diachronically). Culture is about both objects and the commentaries on them;
about a cumulative body of knowledge; about collective memory and heritage. Here,
history plays a central role and older does not mean less important or less relevant.
Hence, a Leonardo painting that is 400 years old, or a Greek statue that is 2500 years old,
typically have richer commentaries and are often more valuable than their contemporary
equivalents. In this context, the science of meaning (semantics) is necessarily much more
complex than semantic primitives. A semantic web in the cultural domain must enable us
to trace how meaning and knowledge organisation have evolved historically in different
This paper examines five issues to address this challenge: 1) different world-views (i.e. a
shift from substance to function and from ontology to multiple ontologies); 2) develop-
ments in definitions and meaning; 3) distinctions between words and concepts; 4) new
classes of relations; and 5) dynamic models of knowledge organisation. These issues
reveal that historical dimensions of cultural diversity in knowledge organisation are also
central to classification of biological diversity.
New ways are proposed of visualizing knowledge using a time/space horizon to
distinguish between universals and particulars. It is suggested that new visualization
methods make possible a history of questions as well as of answers, thus enabling
dynamic access to cultural and historical dimensions of knowledge. Unlike earlier media,
which were limited to recording factual dimensions of collective memory, digital media
enable us to explore theories, ways of perceiving, ways of knowing; to enter into other
mindsets and world-views and thus to attain novel insights aSome practical consequences are outlined.
On Sep 9, 2007, at 9:06 AM, John F. Sowa wrote:
Might I remind people that this thread started with a discussion
of how the pieces of the SemWeb are related to ontology.
John Cage's compositions are worth some discussion, but perhaps
the amount spent so far has strayed a bit off topic.