From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of segun alayande
Sent: Monday, 27 December 2010 11:28
To: doug@xxxxxxxxxx; Ontolog Forum
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Fwd: [New post] The Newest from SOA: The SOA Ontology Technical Standard
There are many persons who have found themselves creating various forms of Ontologies (I call them Accidental Ontologist) by accident notably people who came to it from Information / Data Modeling and Taxonomy development. I am one of these people. It has been a journey of personal learning as I took on wicked problems in the IT industry and sought better techniques to improve my deliverables as opposed to creating solutions and then seeking problems to solve with it.
[Peter] Actually, I think that anyone coming from an information/data modelling or taxonomy development background is far less an ‘accidental ontologist’ (and probably more acutely aware of modelling challenges and pitfalls) that the accidental ontologists coming out of systems analysis and software development backgrounds…
I do enterprise modelling and I have used various ontology development techniques that fit the context of my work. In the past 10 yoears I have developed useful products that have driven millions of pounds worth of IT investment and I am cuurrently working in various bodies in the aviation industry to do more without a certification as an Ontologist.
[Peter] Likewise, I know of few certifications for ‘webmaster’, although in any typical large organisation, you will see at least a dozen people hollering to be given that title. It’s too often in the eye of the beholder although, increasingly, we will look for a number of skills in more ‘established’ fields before concluding whether someone is up to the job or not. Some great analysts make great ‘ontologists’; some great logicians make poor ontologists – I would argue that it is a complex and composite skill set that makes up a good ontologist and although we often find it difficult to define (or certify) what we want from one, we know one when we see and work with one!
In practice, the purpose of a modeling exercise often determines the form of the deliverable and the process used to develop it, it is difficult to define standards and rules because of the possible variants of product and processes that may exist and are at the same time valid given the context. I remember the SSADM and Information Engineering (later marketed as Enterprise Engineering) methodologies and the certification some of us had to undertake and their current value today in terms of the agile techniques pervading IT and driven by financial and other business factors. I note that the practice of Ontology development will continue to evolve and mature as we continue to use it to solve problems ( and learn). I also suggest that members on this list would benefit the most from a focus on the dissemination of Ontology development best practice and provision of case studies. I have personally benefited from these.
[Peter] I agree. We should not underestimate either the importance of the process as well as the outcome. In many discussions about ontology development, the actual discussions reveal a lot about underlying assumptions which – once clarified – contribute to better enterprise understanding (and the sort of ‘distinctions’ that John Sowa commented upon, as being critical to good terminology and definitions).
In my last contribution on this list I tried to generalise a procedure proposed by a member of this list and the non-response was deafening. I enjoyed the recent discussion on the SOA Ontology and found some of the comments enlightening. A number of questions come to mind:
Is Ontology development mature enough to deserve more than communities of practice at this stage?
[Peter] The bigger question is: is that necessary? What need would be fulfilled that is not currently addressed?
Should we be creating a profession out of Ontology development?
[Peter] No ;-)
How do we position the practice within software development and especially the practice of Enterprise Architecture which itself means different things depending on who you are talking to?
[Peter] I think it is, already. In the same way that successful such developments a decade ago recognised that they didn’t know everything about metadata or records management (or whatever the specialised area of interest) and reached out to those communities who did. Any cross-disciplinary development (and which ones aren’t, these days?) that fails to acknowledge that it doesn’t know everything and that there is a fair chance that there are people ‘out there’ who do particular subjects in extraordinary depth, are doomed to failure.
I wish you all a happy Christmas and a productive new Year.
Peter F Brown
Transforming our Relationships with Information Technologies
P.O. Box 49719, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA
Until 9 Jan 2011, Tel : +32.472.027.811
> Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2010 22:44:18 -0500
> From: doug@xxxxxxxxxx
> To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Fwd: [New post] The Newest from SOA: The SOA Ontology Technical Standard
> On Thu, December 23, 2010 14:36, Christopher Menzel said:
> > ...
> > Until ontological engineers, like engineers of every other other stripe,
> > can be assumed to have a well-defined baseline of knowledge and a basic
> > technical skills, an endless repetition of elementary modeling errors ...
> Before a professional engineer of any other stripe is allowed to promote
> herself as an engineer s/he has to be certified as qualified to do so.
> Without a similar rigorous certification process, anyone could hang out a
> shingle as an "ontological engineer".
> Perhaps some body should design such a certification process and
> provide certificates to those who manage to pass.
> > We trust every new bridge that is
> > built to hold us up (in part) because of the knowledge and skill of the
> > engineers who designed it; sound bridges that perform their function
> > reliably are the norm, not the exception.
> Nowadays. It was different in the 19th Century, before certification
> was required. Bridges fell down. Dams collapsed. Ontologies proved F
> -- oh wait, that's today.
> -- doug f
> > Why should it be any different
> > for ontologies?
> > Chris Menzel
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> doug foxvog doug@xxxxxxxxxx http://ProgressiveAustin.org
> "I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great
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> - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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