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[ontolog-forum] International Alliance for Interoperability

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 2009 10:45:47 -0400
Message-id: <49B9201B.407@xxxxxxxxxxx>
The subject line above states the name of an organization that
is devoted to interoperability.  That particular organization has
its roots in the building industry, but every branch of science,
engineering, and business has similar organizations.    (01)

As an example of what they do, see their description of IFD:    (02)

    International Framework for Dictionaries (ISO 12006-3) is a
    library with terminology and ontologies assisting in identifying
    the type of information being exchanged. It is developed with
    the purpose of adding value to the IFCs and is language and
    culture independent.    (03)

    The International Framework for Dictionaries (IFD) (ISO 12006-3)
    standard is developed by ISO TC 59/SC 13/WG 6. Many of the members
    of the work group are also members of International Construction
    Information Society (ICIS ). The IFD standard has many similarities
    with the EPISTLE standard for the Oil and Gas industry.    (04)

    While the IFC standard describes objects, how they are connected,
    and how the information should be exanged and stored, the IFD
    standard uniquely describe what the objects are, and what
    properties, units and values they can have. IFD provides the
    dictionary, the definitions of concepts, the relationships between
    them and the common understanding necessary for the communication
    to flow smoothly.    (05)

Source:    (06)

http://www.iai-tech.org/products/related-specifications/ifd_specification    (07)

That web page has a link to "IFD in a Nutshell", which gives examples:    (08)

    http://dev.ifd-library.org/index.php/Ifd:IFD_in_a_Nutshell    (09)

The following diagram describes 'door':    (010)

http://dev.ifd-library.org/images/thumb/8/8d/Ontology.png/450px-Ontology.png    (011)

That diagram uses relations with the following names:  'is a type of',
'is a part of', 'consists of', 'can be', and 'relates to'.    (012)

Those five relations by themselves (including the catchall 'relates to')
provide a gross level classification, but they aren't sufficient for
detailed reasoning.  However, they are very important for searching,
classifying, and natural language analysis and disambiguation.    (013)

That level of detail is certainly insufficient for designing doors
that can be interchanged among different buildings.  Those details,
however, have always been stated in very low-level specifications,
such as traditional blueprints or CAD/CAM programs.    (014)

Those two levels of specification are typical of every field:    (015)

  1. A gross-level classification with very few relation types and
     few if any axioms.    (016)

  2. A precise, extremely detailed specification that can support
     extended reasoning, computation, construction, and assembly.    (017)

At the gross level, there is very little difference between an
ontology and a terminology.  The detailed levels are where all
the complex reasoning and computations are carried out.    (018)

If our ontology proposals are to be useful in practice, it is
essential for us to recognize those two levels and incorporate
them in any proposed standards or guidelines.    (019)

John Sowa    (020)

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