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Re: [ontolog-forum] Ontological Means for Systems Engineering

To: ian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 13:18:16 -0500
Message-id: <497A09E8.2000109@xxxxxxxx>
Ian Bailey wrote:
> Thanks Ed. Now we can add yet another class, defined by the extent Ed
> suggests, give it a name "System" and make that name a member of the
> AP233-SysML Name Type. 
> The point I'm trying to get across is that lots of people call different
> things "system". We have now identified the extent of four different
> classes, which intersect, and each is named "System", but each name System
> belongs to a different name type. The one that is named "system" by the
> Canadian Defence Dept. is also named "Capability Configuration" in MODAF. 
> Anyone else want to identify a different class and call it "system"  ?    (01)

And the point I was trying to make at the end was that if you can't get 
your community to agree on the scope of a knowledge model, you don't 
have a user community, and there is no point in making that model.  It 
is just what Matthew described -- a model that will have no use.  To get 
a useful ontology, each participant has got to get past what the word 
means to him/her and work on what the community is going to agree that 
it means when they talk to each other.  What are the accepted axioms? 
If they can't agree on that, there will be no way to identify _common_ 
knowledge.    (02)

The mistake the military regularly makes is the presumption that a 
vocabulary can be imposed on a community.  That works well in creating a 
vocabulary for a new technology, a new weapons system, etc., that is not 
already in use in the community.  And you can impose any vocabulary on 
apprentices and recruits.  But it doesn't work when the community of 
practitioners has been using an existing vocabulary for 5 years, or 50 
years.  An "ashtray" is not going to become a "personal ash receptacle" 
just because the term is mandated by some pointless military standard.    (03)

-Ed    (04)

P.S. As you might guess, the above example is not fictitious. ;-)    (05)

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    (06)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (07)

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