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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantic Enterprise Architecture - Interoperability?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "doug foxvog" <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2010 17:10:35 -0400 (EDT)
Message-id: <52599.>
One problem that often occurs in discussing computer ontologies is the
conflation of words, terms in an ontology, and the things represented
by those words and terms.  If one stops to think, it is clear that these
are different things.    (01)

Words have conjugations, declinations, derivations, plurals,
pronunciations, spellings, and meanings.  Terms in an ontology do not
have linguistic properties.  The things represented by the words and
ontological terms may have have physical properties, which the other
two types of object don't have.    (02)

To discuss meanings of words and terms in ontologies, it is necessary
to carefully distinguish these three classes of things.    (03)

On Mon, September 6, 2010 10:29, Pavithra said:
> ...
> Semantic interoperability is new and mature ontology development model
> would help create that.  But there are always words that are used with
> different semantics based on context, culture, environment.        (04)

Semantic interoperability should not be based on words, but on defined
terms with fixed definitions.  In computer languages it isn't an issue
that reserved words (object, method, ...) have different meanings in
other contexts.  Terms in ontologies should be similarly be treated
as reserved words and thus be unambiguous.    (05)

The combination of a specified ontology with a specified term in the
ontology has a unique meaning.  A different ontology which has a term
with the same name should cause no problems so long as the ontology
which is used when the term is referenced is clear.    (06)

URIs provide such unambiguity by having a leading part which indicates
the ontology & a final part which indicates the name of a term within
that ontology.  Languages which use name spaces have a method of
indicating the name space (representing the ontology) connected to the
name within that name space.  These can be translated into URIs by
appending the term name to the URI representing the name space.    (07)

> In America
> a gas tank holds gas which is liquid..  ( yeah gas derived from the word
> gasoline for the word petrol. )     (08)

It is the *word* "gasoline" which is used in the US for the substance
denoted (in the UK & Ireland) by the *word* "petrol".  Of course the
word "petrol" is derived from the word "petroleum" -- but in a different
fashion that the physical petrol is derived from physical petroleum. 8)#    (09)

> But if you use the web in another
> country  one is looking at  gas, which has totally different properties
> then liquid.  I mean where is it defined that gas = petrol?      (010)

If you are referring to the meaning of the words, the question could be
more clearly phrased: "where is it defined that the meanings of the
words spelled "gas" and "petrol" are the same?    (011)

In Cyc, six statements map the words spelled "gas", "gasoline", and
"petrol" to the concept of gasoline, three mapping the text strings
to conceptual entities called words, and three providing denotations of
the two words which are the same.    (012)

in the context EnglishMt:
(denotation Gasoline-TheWord 1 MassNoun GasolineFuel).
(massNumber Gasoline-TheWord "gasoline").    (013)

in the context AmericanEnglishMt:
(denotation Gas-TheWord 2 MassNoun GasolineFuel).
(massNumber Gas-TheWord "gas").    (014)

in the context BritishEnglishMt:
(denotation Petrol-TheWord 1 MassNoun GasolineFuel).
(massNumber Petrol-TheWord "petrol").    (015)

In the context BritishEnglishMt (or contexts which inherit it) Cyc
can conclude that the words spelled "petrol" and "gasoline" can each
refer to the same thing.  This is because BritishEnglishMt inherits
EnglishMt.  Likewiae, in AmericanEngishMt (which also inherits EnglishMt)
Cyc can conclude that the words spelled "gas" and "gasoline" can each
refer to the same thing.    (016)

However, to conclude that "gas" and "petrol" refer to the same thing,
Cyc would have to be in a context which inherits both AmericanEnglishMt
and BritishEnglishMt.  Such a context should not be used in language
processing.    (017)

> Then there
> are same words that are used in different cultures and different
> languages..      (018)

Similarly, the mapping of words and meanings should be defined in
contexts particular to the appropriate culture and/or language.    (019)

> There are some proposed solutions -  an Ontology repository that tracks
> semantics to use it to harmonize meanings could help to resolve such
> semantic difference.         (020)

It appears that you are referring to using ontologies for natural language
processing and understanding here.    (021)

> The same solutions would work for Semantic web too..    (022)

If full URIs were used on the Semantic Web, it would not be an issue
since the different meanings of terms would use different URIs.    (023)

>  However at present the concept of Linked data seems more at URI and
> URL level.. kind of at object level rather than words and things.     (024)

As discussed at the beginning, words and things are at two very different
levels.  And computer ontology terms for describing them is a third
distinct level.    (025)

-- doug f    (026)

> ( I am
> not sure , I am trying say the granularity could be different). which is
> again structural level. 
> Thanks,
> Pavithra    (027)

doug foxvog    doug@xxxxxxxxxx   http://ProgressiveAustin.org    (028)

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great
initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."
    - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
=============================================================    (029)

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