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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 05 Feb 2010 10:47:46 -0500
Message-id: <4B6C3DA2.7040401@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Mike,    (01)

I agree:    (02)

MB> I think it would make sense to set up a structure as you describe
 > and populate it with such terms as can be defined semantically from
 > authoritative industry sources i.e. industry standards, along with
 > annotation of the provenance of those semantics.    (03)

The goal would be to "populate" it with any and all resources that
anyone might make available under a suitable license.  SourceForge,
Wikipedia, and WordNet are three different examples of rich resources
that were developed with modest levels of funding.  The W3C and ISO
are examples that require more funding, but have a more disciplined
organization.  There are many other organizations and consortiums
that use various non-profit business models for maintaining resources,
free, low cost, or high cost.    (04)

Instead of $30 million for a 3-year project, I would suggest a more
modest amount of funding to organize a long-term non-profit organization
that could accept contributions (of ontologies and funding), vet the
ontologies and related resources, organize them, and maintain them
according to guidelines along the lines we have been discussing.    (05)

MB> A vital component of this would be change management, such that
 > when the competent authority makes a change or an addition to
 > their semantics, this can be picked up and propagated through the
 > resource and any developments that have made use of this resource.
 > A tall order perhaps, but not as tall as maintaining an isolated
 > huge ontology.    (06)

I agree.  But we don't have to make it perfect on the first try.
Getting the resources together would be an important first step.    (07)

MB> For the most part such terms would also be more relevant to how
 > information is passed between computers, than something from the
 > broader and fuzzier world of the human language dictionary, I would
 > venture to suggest. They would certainly be simpler.    (08)

The organization could include both formal ontologies and lexical
resources for mapping the formally defined theories to natural
languages.  But it's important to distinguish the two.  WordNet
is often called an ontology, but it's closer to a dictionary
than to a formal ontology.  It's important to clarify the nature
of the various resources and their interrelationships.    (09)

MB> I think a relevant point is that any "widely supported ontology"
 > should be widely supported because it has emerged from industry
 > specialists  doing real work (like [Matthew's] work at Shell) and
 > not because some group of clever ontologists have got some funding
 > and gone off and done some ontology and then worked to get it widely
 > supported. In other words, the semantics would be widely supported
 > to begin with.    (010)

My preference is to let the users "vote with their feet".  All the
contributed ontologies would be organized in a hierarchy.  Each one
would have statistics, documentation, and reviews about how it was
being used and the results obtained.  Nothing would have to be thrown
away, all versions of all resources would always be available, and
users could view the collection according to various criteria:
popularity, reviews, success stories, application domain, etc.    (011)

John    (012)

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