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Re: [ontolog-forum] Practical onomastics...

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2010 12:18:08 -0400
Message-id: <AB573077-CB8A-49CF-88E2-D3EDC0634626@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
John -    (01)

On May 21, 2010, at 9:58 AM, John F. Sowa wrote:    (02)

> And by the way, I say this as somebody who was very hopeful about
> the Semantic Web when Tim B-L proposed it in the late 1990s.  I
> still believe that real semantics can be added to the Semantic Web,
> but the first step is to get beyond the obsession with notation.    (03)

I've been attending the Semantic Web monthly meetings at MIT for  
close to 3 years now.    (04)

My standard self-introduction to the group is along the lines: "I'm  
interested in the
challenge of synonyms & homonyms."  .... which to my non RDF/OWL/RDFa  
brain is
the heart of semantics.    (05)

I have yet to have a substantive conversation with anyone there as to  
how all this
SemWeb hand waving is going to address the data-owners problem of  
discovering &
then unambiguously publishing the semantics of their data.    (06)

The data owner lives/works with their data on a daily basis & knows  
it.  However that
knowledge is—as we all know—tacit, not explicit.  Dumping/extracting  
data out of
systems is an adventure, since you never really know what you're  
going to get.    (07)

Ancient history...    (08)

I found a CISR (MIT's Center for Information Systems Research)  
research note that had
been funded by (the late, lamented) DEC in the 1970s.    (09)

It seems that MIT was buying lots of stuff from DEC & wanted to be  
sure they were getting
the best possible discount.    (010)

So DEC management turns internally & asks the classic question: "How  
much stuff are
we selling to MIT?"  Easy question.  Difficult answer.  Every time  
they asked, they'd get a
different answer, since the semantics of the person fulfilling the  
request (running the
report) was always implicit, not explicit.    (011)

One issue: there were 14 different spellings of MIT, M.I.T., M. I.  
T., Mass Inst Tech, Draper
Labs, Lincoln Labs.... & so forth.    (012)

Modern history (e.g. last week)...    (013)

My wife wanted to look up some information in town records.    (014)

When she queried 103 Webster Avenue, there was nothing.
Likewise 103 Webster Ave. nothing
But finally: 103 Webster Ave   = victory.    (015)

Forcing someone to know the difference between Avenue, Ave. and Ave  
is NOT good practice.    (016)

My bottom line... so far I do not see the Semantic Web (now morphing  
to "Linked Data")
addressing the basic issue of "what contents is in that package"?    (017)

Thank you for the ancient history on CSV... in my innocence/ignorance/ 
youth, I associate it with
  VisiCalc.    (018)

David Eddy
deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx    (019)

781-455-0949    (020)

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