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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Web shortcomings [was Re: ANN: GoodRelation

To: <Toby.Considine@xxxxxxxxx>, "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Patrick Cassidy" <pat@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2008 14:05:15 -0400
Message-id: <02e401c902ef$4c77d1d0$e5677570$@com>


   Concerning two of your points:


(1)     “Lightweight” versus ‘heavyweight” (whatever that means in ontology):   The “conceptual defining vocabulary” approach to finding a common foundation ontology aims to identify the *minimum* set of concepts that will be adequate to specify the meanings of all specialized concepts, as combinations of the basic concepts.  So it will be as small as possible (but, as Einstein warned, no smaller).

(2)    I don’t think that anyone on this list (well, maybe one) thinks there is a “one true” way to represent the world.  One of the main characteristics of the ontology development project I am suggesting is that it explicitly allow multiple alternative (but logically compatible) ways to represent concepts, so that all different viewpoints can be accommodated.


   One point your CEO made is entirely valid: the foundation ontology that enables interoperability must be fully open, but the local applications using it can be proprietary and secret.




Patrick Cassidy



cell: 908-565-4053



From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Toby Considine
Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 10:38 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Web shortcomings [was Re: ANN: GoodRelations - The Web Ontology for E-Commerce]


If Cyc is a valuable resource, it is as something to be mined lighter weight and eventually more successful project. Much of this thread sounds an awful lot like the over-heavy but oh so passionately supported heavy-weight standards that GM was working on in the 70's and 80's. AFAIK, the only shard remaining is LDAP, which was developed by mining by a small results-oriented group. I am also reminded of the greater usability of GBXML and how strongly the AECXML folks argued againt it.

Last month, I spent a holiday weekend with several CEOs who could not imagine what I was up to. Finally one got it, and explained to the others:

"Ontology is always a value proposition, how a company makes money. Each company, and perhaps each sales professional must be able to define his own ontology and explain it to his customers. We need semantic allignment to create a common basis for discussing value. If it is a good semantic set, then the ontologies that each sales director creates will be better, better to produce sales differentiation, and better to produce true long term value for the company.

A general purpose ontology gives us a framework do develop and discuss our own value propositions. But those value propositions, and their underlying ontologies must remain proprietary, or lese every company is just building to the lowest common denominator, and innovation and value creation end"

I recognize that he was using the words somewhat differently than this group does, but I cannot discard his formulation. If you want the large players, mentioned above, to fund these efforts, I suspect that the conversation will have to sound more like his, and less filled with the passion for the one correct answer I read in this thread.
"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." -- Alexander Graham Bell
Toby Considine
Chair, OASIS oBIX TC http://www.oasis-open.org
Phone: (919)619-2104
blog: www.NewDaedalus.com

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