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Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2009 19:09:05 -0500
Message-id: <499368A1.3060401@xxxxxxxx>
Don Conklin wrote:    (01)

> I was actually trying to sidestep the issue of the practicality of the
> FO itself. Having worked with ontologies since my DAML days, I see the
> few enterprises that dabble in this area taking a vertical approach to
> ontology development. That is, a rich lower level representation and a
> sparse higher level representation.     (02)

Our experience is the same.  I think the presumption, whether correct or 
not, is that everyone agrees on the meaning of the higher-level concepts 
to the extent that it makes any difference to the concerns for which the 
ontology is being developed.  The object of the ontology is to capture 
details of concepts involved directly in some set of activities.  That 
is where the RoI is, in identifying sloppy definitions and user 
confusion and conflation, and in detecting errors and inconsistencies in 
information, and so on.    (03)

> I do agree that accurate extraction of structured data from unstructured
> text using natural language understanding based on semantic technologies
> represents an attractive domain of ubiquitous interest.     (04)

Ubiquitous interest, yes.  But, like the ontologies used for sorting out 
database and message content, the ontologies used for this will focus on 
the kinds of information that is to be extracted.  Some background 
ontology for the general concepts in presenting ideas is needed, and 
some of that is basic linguistic stuff, and notions of time and 
causality, and the like.  Not to say this is easy, but this is the only 
part that is universal to the "unstructured text analysis" problem. 
Beyond that, reading a management science text and reading a nuclear 
physics text and reading a software engineering text require different 
domain ontologies.    (05)

> As a Russian general one said "Better is the enemy of good enough." I
> think ontologies will be applied pragmatically for the things they do
> better than say relational DBs.    (06)

And the things that they enable that couldn't be done at all with prior 
technologies -- knowledge discovery, for example.    (07)

> Over time some standardization may
> evolve as a core of a higher ontology. I just don't think it's going to
> get any prettier than that.     (08)

Exactly.  It is the way worthwhile technologies evolve.    (09)

-Ed    (010)

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    (011)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (012)

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