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Re: [ontolog-forum] Guidelines for Standards Developers

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Leal <david.leal@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 2009 20:36:53 +0000
Message-id: <>
Dear Joel and others,    (01)

I agree that:
a) the way English is used in standards is part of the problem; and
b) getting non-ontology specialists to create good ontologies is not easy.    (02)

I am impressed with the Rabbit system created for the UK Ordnance Survey
(see http://ncg.nuim.ie/gisruk/materials/proceedings/PDF/2A5.pdf). This
system manages a controlled natural language which allows users to define
terms, and then use them to make precise statements which have both a
natural language representation and a formal representation in OWL. There is
interest in creating earth sciences ontologies of wider scope using this, or
similar tool.    (03)

There is also the need for multi-language support. Most of the ontology
community speaks English, but much earth sciences work is carried out in
local languages. A controlled natural language tool for creating precise
statements could support more than one language.    (04)

Best regards,
David    (05)

At 16:01 26/03/2009 -0400, you wrote:
>This is a text version of my comment during today's conference call...
>I would like to provide guidelines to standards developers that are not 
>familiar with ontology development or formalized taxonomies.  For 
>example, a wide variety of standards have referenced RFC2119 for the use 
>of terms such as MUST.
>     <http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2119.txt>
>I know this is in the realm of mereology and mereotopology, but if I 
>dare mention those words to specialist in air conditioning, their eyes 
>will glaze over.
>Perhaps a web form where someone enters two nouns, 'snarf' and 'blat'. 
>Then the system asks a series of questions like "If snarf is a part of 
>blat, and you take away the snarf, would the blat be a blat anymore?" 
>The answer drives them to use a specific label (maybe even a URI) for 
>that relationship.  It could even provide feedback on why other similar 
>labels are not appropriate.
>Agreeing to standardize on the RFC definition of terms like MUST is a 
>relatively small (but necessary) step for a standards committee.  Coming 
>to a consensus on the specific label to put on a relationship could be 
>quite a task.  Programmer/analysts that work with customers on getting 
>their sign-off on a UML diagram for their system see this all the time.
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>    (06)

David Leal
CAESAR Systems Limited
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