Thanks for adding your thoughts to the
Well written, Peter. But the divide
between <technologist/researcher> has to be bridged if ontology is EVER
to be of practical use. As you noted, that takes SMEs and Ontologists,
and the two are mixing up high and low knowledge levels in the two foci, as you
indicated. But that process, however difficult and unmanageable it is,
has to be endured until enough knowledge of each side is brought to either a consensus
(which almost never happens) or a decree.
Its this process of intercommunication
among the many participants that is so expensive in software development as
well. Its well documented that at some point, adding people slows down
the project. At that point, it takes more labor time from team members to
tutor or indoctrinate the next person than the amount of effective labor time said
next person can add to the project.
The theory behind investing in ontology
(or AI, or knowledge engineering, or even software engineering …) is that
the marginal investment required is less than the marginal value improvement,
therefore the invested energy cascades and grows, at least at that marginal
point. If we think there is no value in ontology, it will be dropped like
the semantic web, global warming, Y2K or the dot com bust.
Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com
9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2
[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Research
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011
To: '[ontolog-forum] '
Subject: [ontolog-forum] I
ontologise, you ontologise,we all mess up... (was: Modeling a money
transferring scenario,or any of a range of similar dialogues)
I have two core concerns about many of the dialogues on this list and
which might be worthy of discussion in the Summit:
What strikes me about many of these dialogues is the missed and mixed
messages between ‘ontologists’ who don’t clearly understand
certain subject matter; and subject-matter experts who don’t understand
aspects of formal modelling, and both with varying degree of professionalism or
I do not think it is the role of an ‘ontologist’, however
defined, to substitute their (sometimes) limited experience of a subject domain
for that of someone who knows the domain; but should rather be to offer
approaches, methods, and tools to help everyone model that domain.
Likewise, I do not think it is the role of a subject matter expert
(again, however defined) to substitute their often limited modelling skills for
that of someone who knows what ontology modelling is about and how to do it
I remain baffled by the terms (and the presumed concepts behind them
– which are *not* clear at
all) of ‘ontology engineer’ and ‘ontology engineering’.
I do not think that one can ‘engineer’ an ontology any more than
one can engineer a meeting: one can bring skills, methods and tools to the
meeting (as Chair of a meeting for example) and can make sometimes significant
progress even in ignorance of the subject of the meeting – if the purpose
of the role of Chair is to help the meeting to come to some conclusion.
However, once a Chair starts to pronounce on matters and get involved in the
substance of a meeting, those skills and methods become overshadowed by their
ignorance or partisanship.
I fear that similar processes abound in many discussions on this list
– initial helpful hands in modelling questions degenerate into
generalised and often not very informed discussions around particular concepts.
I look primarily to this list and forum, for discussions around
modelling theory, ideas, methods and tools; sometimes for enlightenment about
edge cases in definition of core terms or new thinking around the core subject
of ontology; With all the respect for the professionals on the list, I am not likely
to ask here for advice about which are the ‘correct’ concepts to
use in my business or whether I have defined them ‘correctly’, any
more than I would ask a librarian whether I will like a particular book!
Best regards, and a Happy New Year to all,
our Relationships with Information Technologies
P.O. Box 49719, Los Angeles, CA 90049,