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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 19:34:00 -0500
Message-id: <49936E78.5060606@xxxxxxxx>
Pat Hayes wrote:    (01)

>> Hardly anyone needs to be able to interoperate with everybody.    (02)

Pat Cassidy wrote:
>   No, I don't either, but a lot of people want to interoperate with a lot of
> other people,     (03)

Well, yes and no.  A lot of people (and more importantly their software) 
need to interoperate with others in the same domain (= 
company/industry/profession) and with others in joint activities that 
cross specific domains.    (04)

People in the same domain develop some means of interoperability for 
their survival.  Usually that involves "common semantics".  In order to 
work with others in joint activities across domains, they also develop 
some means of interoperability.  Standards, of one kind or another are a 
favorite.  But inter-human negotiation has worked for far longer.    (05)

The problem we are talking about is *much* smaller.  It is systems that 
are using ontologies as part of the communication within a domain and 
are now required to deal with systems using different ontologies in the 
course of a joint activity.  That is when we start talking about 
"semantic interoperability".    (06)

Right now the number of commercial systems using ontologies as part of 
anything is small, and the likelihood of their encountering one another 
in joint activities is even smaller.  We expect that to change, but that 
will only happen when systems using ontologies do more things or better 
things or new things than systems that don't, as Don Conklin observed.    (07)

> and I think that those of us who are in a position to create
> the technology that can make it happen should make an effort to provide that
> functionality.    (08)

OK.  Provide that functionality for two systems that currently have the 
problem.  Then try to do it for two more.  About 4 efforts in, you 
should begin to understand the problem well enough to describe the 
nature of the general solution.    (09)

At the moment all you have is a theory, and it is not yet clear to me 
what that theory really is.  And it is even less clear that accepting it 
requires less than a leap of faith.  The old adage applies:
   The difference between theory and practice in practice is greater 
than the difference between theory and practice in theory.    (010)

So tell us about your practical experience with this approach.
There is reported practical experience with other approaches (but I 
imagine some of them got their 30M$ to acquire it).    (011)

-Ed    (012)

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    (013)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (014)

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