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Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 12:06:26 -0500
Message-id: <49945712.4030706@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Sean,    (01)

I mostly agree with your comments, but I'd like to clarify
a few points.    (02)

SB> I would agree with John that interoperation is generally
 > specific to a particular domain, but observe that, although
 > the member of domains is open ended, its often more effective
 > to talk to people than try and interoperate across multiple
 > domains.    (03)

The point I was trying to make is that we (and the organizations
we belong to or work with) do interoperate across many domains.
But the ontologies we need for interoperability are a tiny subset
of an ontology for the full domains.    (04)

For example, Amazon.com sells books on every conceivable domain,
but they ignore the subject matter.  They just consider a very
small number of details such as title, author, ISBN, and price.    (05)

Amazon also does such a large volume of business in selling
so many different kinds of products that suppliers in a large
number of diverse domains must interact with the Amazon database.
Therefore, every one of those suppliers is forced to align their
databases (i.e., their implicit ontology) to the implicit ontology
adopted by Amazon.    (06)

Fortunately, that alignment does *not* require a global alignment
of everything in every domain.  It just requires each supplier
to map a small subset of their domain to the Amazon subset.    (07)

SB> Noting some of the comments earlier in the thread, in all
 > these interactions, one thing I never need to consider is
 > whether clay or the number seven is an individual.    (08)

Indeed.  Those questions never arise when we interoperate with
other drivers on a highway.  And they are also irrelevant to
suppliers who map a subset of their database to the Amazon DB.    (09)

SB> Grand unified ontology across domains - most unlikely to
 > get industrial support in the next ten years.    (010)

Since people have been working on that problem without success
for at least the past 30 years, I would extend that estimate
to much more ten years.    (011)

John Sowa    (012)

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