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Re: [ontolog-forum] International Alliance for Interoperability

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2009 02:52:39 -0400
Message-id: <49BB5437.3010000@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Joel,    (01)

JFS>> Before we worry about interoperability between the *computers*
 >> used by the building managers and the fire department, we have
 >> to coordinate the terminology used by *people* who actually work
 >> with and live in those buildings.    (02)

JB> I think understand what you're saying, but this is a poor example.
 > The computers used by building managers and the fire department
 > already interoperate (something bad happened, send the trucks),
 > and the people that work and live in them are completely clueless
 > as to how, and couldn't care less.    (03)

I don't want to beat that example to death, but there are many
other messages to be considered than the one that means "send the
trucks."  Fire departments have floor plans on file for major
buildings, and the people on the trucks have to talk to the people
who leave the building to find out what's happening inside.  It
helps if they can understand one another.    (04)

For other examples, consider the data entry clerks and the people
who fill out questionnaires, either on paper or electronically.
They are unlikely to have any training in the fine points of the
ontology.  Therefore, for people with every level of expertise,
I'd repeat the end of my previous note:    (05)

JFS> Bottom line:  Any precise, formal, detailed ontology should
 > be compatible with the terminology that people actually know,
 > understand, and use.    (06)

Different parts of an ontology may be relevant for people with
different levels of expertise (example: physician, specialist,
nurse, administrator, patient, and IT department).  But the
part that any person is exposed to must be compatible with the
terminology that person knows (either from specialized training
or general background knowledge).    (07)

John    (08)

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