Thanks John! (01)
I think that for the most part we see topic mapping and ontologies in
a very similar way. You choose to comment on the mechanics of topic
mapping, for instance automated ways to do the mappings. Until just
recently, I was doing a thesis research project on that very issue; it
is possible to do mappings in an automated way so long as topic
mappers follow guidelines presented in the Topic Maps Reference Model
(TMRM) which specifies, essentially, what you must declare in a public
legend. My case is a simple one: we can do that. (02)
But, that case is just as complex as any other ontology engineering
case when you have people making judgments and interpretations, so it
is reasonable, at the implementation level, to build into the system
means by which choices made can be contested and corrected. Speaking
only for projects I create, my topic map platforms do just that. (03)
And, I would submit that topic maps provide a place to represent all
knowable properties and relations. I'd like to think that your
"laundry list" can be satisfied through the addition of what I call a
"knowledge federation" platform to a universe of ontology documents.
That would be federation as Patrick Durusau and I described it in our
presentation, and as he, I, and others are striving to implement it.
Again, and for emphasis, I am not proposing replacing any ontology
whatsoever; just improving the loom that weaves all those artifacts. (04)
On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 6:16 PM, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> David, Jack, Rich, and Ron,
>> I thought the mundane issue of "legacy systems" was taken off
>> the ontology table as irrelevant?
>> Did I miss something?
> Just a few trillions of dollars worth of software that happens
> to run the world economy. For some statistics and references,
> see slides 4 to 7 of
>> Patrick Durusau and I tackled the "who gets to decide" issue in an
>> Ontolog conference call in which we argued for a mapping approach
>> that implies that virtually all choices are available, the final
>> decision being left up to the user's particular needs.
>> That is a great goal - preserving all the possible options
>> for the final fitting of the ontology to the application.
> I agree with Jack, Patrick, and Rich.
>> How do you document the options so that the final fitter understands
>> the available choices? Given the open approach and its clear
>> advantages over a one-size-fits-all ontology, a secondary issue is
>> managing the spectrum of choices among multiple component ontologies.
> Yes, indeed. How do you organize, manage, and relate all options?
>> Stretch that question to this one: how do you create a fabric of
>> identifying methodologies that anyone can enter the loom and find
>> what they want? which entails mappings among identifiers.
> Yes, but not just "among identifiers". The mappings must relate
> things that are being identified.
>> Topic mappers use the term "legend" just as you find in a corner box
>> on a road map: a public declaration, essentially, of the keys used to
>> identify topics.
> A topic map is a fine way to show the mappings, but as Barry Smith
> noted, human mappings are error prone and fragile. We need some
> systematic methods that derive the mappings from the structure
> of whatever is being related. That is the point of the slides
> I mentioned at the beginning of this thread:
>> But, subject identification is more complex than that if you wish
>> to include non-ontological commitments used by many, e.g. "Mary's
>> husband" which relies on relationship traversal, "seeing as" (roles
>> actors play), and more.
> The obvious solution to that problem is to include roles such
> as Mary's husband in the ontology. Roles like employee, manager,
> CEO, governor, president, buyer, seller, etc., must also be in
> the ontology.
> Anything and everything that concerns human beings is expressible
> in every natural language. It must also be expressible in any general
> purpose ontology. That doesn't mean that every microtheory or special
> purpose ontology must support everything, but the overall framework
> must make room for every human thought, concern, and activity.
>> I'd like to point out that topic mapping is never (by me or my
>> friends) proposed as a substitute for ontology; rather, as an
>> amplifier to the discipline.
> That's fine. I love methods for showing relationships graphically,
> and topic maps have demonstrated the potential. But it's essential
> to show all possible relationships and to derive them automatically
> from two kinds of sources: formal notations and natural languages.
>> The first and obvious (if only to me) solution is to craft a
>> crowd-sourced topic map that, um, maps all known ontologies, thus
>> providing a universal (careful there) index into ontologies.
> I like the idea of getting raw data from real people, but I don't
> want to rely on only one source. Another important source is the
> practice of billions of people over untold centuries, as documented
> in the vocabularies and structures of our natural languages.
> Lexicographers have done an excellent job of documenting that
> history in many well-edited dictionaries and terminologies.
> I have always emphasized that *every* knowledge engineer should
> have a good dictionary at hand. The definitions might not be
> formalized, but they're usually far better than some random
> guess that is scribbled down in some formal-looking notation.
>>> (setting aside the simplistic notion that one URI satisfies
>>> all users)?
>> ... in 1980 I worked at a life insurance company renowned for
>> it's data management efforts (this is NOT 'data management' in
>> context of disks & storage).
>> They had found 70 different labels/names for the core business
>> concept "policy number." The one I still remember was M0101...
>> an excellent Fortran name.
>> Would that be an issue with the URI approach?
> There are huge numbers of issues with URIs. The most troublesome
> is the assumption that the formal definition at the pointy end
> of a URI has any correspondence with the meaning in the head
> of the person who selected that URI by a menu click.
>> In an earlier stage of life, I sold maintenance management systems.
>> It quickly became clear that the functions required of the system
>> had less to do with the industry that the company was in than the
>> management style of the companies' leaders.
> Yes. That is one among many reasons why different people have
> different meanings in their heads. And those meanings will
> *always* take precedence over any formal definition on the WWW.
> Fundamental principle: The words and phrases that a person uses
> in ordinary conversation are a far more reliable guide to that
> person's meaning than any URI selected by a menu click.
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