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Re: [ontolog-forum] ISO merged ontology effort "MCO"

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, John F.Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 15:05:48 -0500
Message-id: <1FB1635A-5207-464F-A3E4-1D003ED75F6D@xxxxxxx>

On Apr 15, 2009, at 10:48 AM, John F. Sowa wrote:    (01)

> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Your Ontology Summit discussion list
> Date: 22 Jan 2009
> The periodic table of the elements, for example, should be one of the
> ontologies in the repository.  It can be used by chemists, physicists,
> pharmacists, etc., independent of any theory about the fundamental
> nature of atomic particles.    (02)

Recently Ive been talking to some chemists about this. They need to  
distinguish elements from isotopes, H2 from H and O2 from O from O3,  
etc.., and they need concepts such as 'isopropyl alcohol (AH) in which  
at least two carbon atoms are C14' and the like. They also need to  
distinguish oxygen-the-stuff from oxygen-the-element from oxygen-the- 
reagent from oxygen atoms (at least) (not proper chemical terminology  
here). And this is just for the elements: compound are a whole lot of  
other issues.    (03)

> A registry/repository that contains a large collection of such
> modules/theories/ontologies (or whatever anyone might call them)
> would be immensely valuable.  I strongly recommend that we *begin*
> with assembling and organizing such modules.  This might not be
> as theoretically exciting as debating the upper level ontologies,
> but it would provide a valuable service with immediate benefits.
>    (04)

I agree. But (see above) we need subject-matter experts involved with  
this, as they have distinctions that we amateurs will fail to make,  
and thereby cause structural problems for others. So now we have a  
social/political/financial issue: how do we get the ontology writers  
into close collaborative contact with the SMEs?    (05)

Pat    (06)

PS. In my experience, this kind of work is much more intellectually  
exciting than anything in the 'upper' regions.    (07)

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