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Re: [ontolog-forum] Plural taxonomies?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Mike Bennett <mbennett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 15:23:48 +0100
Message-id: <4C03C674.8030303@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
I tend to start from the definition given in Schwartz 2005 
http://homepages.cwi.nl/~media/publications/masterthesis_kat_domainmodel_2005.pdf    (01)

"A taxonomy is essentially a hierarchical tree structure which models a 
domain from abstract to specific."    (02)

However, she goes on to say that a taxonomy "should" not be 
polyhierarchical, which may be good advice for an individual application 
but I think supports the wider definition of a taxonomy as any set of 
terms disposed according to transitive "Is A" relationships. So as such 
I think her definition is too specific.    (03)

Many developers take the technical (or common sense) limitation of 
single hierarchy and assume that this must apply to taxonomies 
generally. I don't go along with this. Some taxonomies (like Linnaeus) 
are by definition monohierarchical because they classify entities 
according to one classification facet alone. Others like the ISO 10962 
Classification of Financial Securities fall down precisely because they 
try to shoehorn entities into a single hierarchy while classifying them 
according to more than one classification criterion. In the EDM Council 
semantics repository ontology, we have built the model around a 
polyhierarchical taxonomy, in order to formally model each of the terms 
that is considered meaningful in the industry. One thing I am looking at 
for a future version is to formally identify the classification criteria 
against which each sub-set of something is defined. For example debt 
instruments are frequently classified according to their issuer types 
(Corporate, Sovereign, Municipal) and separately against their cashflow 
behaviour (fixed, floating etc.) and these are all meaningful. One would 
expect any individual data application to base its data model around 
only one of those classification facets.    (04)

So my advice would be to describe something as "a" taxonomy in the 
singular if it contains a single coherent sest of entities disposed 
according to "Is A" relationships, whether that taxonomy is 
monohierarchical or polyhierarchical. That I think would be the simplest 
descriptive framework around which to dicuss the nature of any given 
taxonomy. I've started to standardise on the term "Classification Facet" 
for the different monohierarchical sets of content within that, and I 
think others are converging on similar terms but I'm open to ideas.    (05)

Also note that this usage supports the creation and description of 
taxonomies which are themselves partitioned according to a lattice such 
as the KR Lattice, since one taxonomy may have e.g. Independent, 
Relative, Mediating as well as Continuant v occurrent at the top level 
with "Thing" above that and multiply classified intersections below 
(classifying something as a Continuant Independent etc.). Though one 
could describe as a taxonomy any coherent sub-set of that whole, for 
instance a taxonomy of types of contract.    (06)

Mike    (07)

Deborah MacPherson wrote:
>
> Dear Ontolog Forum
>
>  
>
> Since last July I've been talking with the National Information 
> Exchange Model (NIEM) Business Architecture Committee (NBAC) about 
> facilities information, and looking at NIEM documentation in more 
> detail to figure out what needs to be done with facility classes and 
> xml schemas for re-use outside the building industry.  Currently, NBAC 
> is looking at the upcoming Information Exchange Model (IEM) 
> Specification. An appendix lists definitions for IEM Artifacts, the 
> following definition is used for Ontology
>
>  
>
> "A conceptual data model that represents relationships and rules among 
> nodes in taxonomy"
>
>  
>
> Please temporarily disregard previous conversations on this forum 
> about appropriate definitions for ontology - this seems to be OK for 
> purposes of this exchange model - even if it may not be correct for 
> other purposes. However, grammatically there seems to be a problem 
> with what is singular and what is plural
>
>  
>
>          A conceptual data model
>
>          represents
>
>          relationships and rules
>
>          nodes
>
>          taxonomy
>
>  
>
> My inclination is this should say "a" taxonomy. But that is why I'm 
> writing, would it be more conceptually and technically correct to say 
> "multiple" or "related" or "a set of" taxonomies? Feedback would be 
> appreciated on exactly how this short definition should be written 
> accurately. Also, the definition does need to stay very short
>
>
> Thank you
>
>  
>
> Deborah MacPherson
>
>
>
> -- 
> ********************************************************
>
> Deborah L. MacPherson CSI CCS, AIA
> Specifications and Research Cannon Design
> Projects Director, Accuracy&Aesthetics
>
> ********************************************************
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>  
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>      (08)


-- 
Mike Bennett
Director
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London EC2A 2BF
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7917 9522
Mob: +44 (0) 7721 420 730
www.hypercube.co.uk
Registered in England and Wales No. 2461068    (09)


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