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Re: [ontolog-forum] Constructs, primitives, terms

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2012 09:08:03 -0500
Message-id: <4F54C8C3.5020901@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Doug,    (01)

I agree with everything you say about EFT and EDI.    (02)

I was only using that as an example of what happens when you take
terms that are defined in a very general sense, and use them in
specialized contexts -- especially with *different* specializations
in contexts that were developed independently.    (03)

To state the problem more generally:    (04)

Base vocabulary V:  A collection of terms defined precisely at a level
of detail sufficient for interpreting messages that use those terms
in a general context C.    (05)

System A:  A computational system that imports vocabulary V and uses
the definitions designated by the URIs.  But it uses the terms in
a context C' that adds further information that is consistent with C.
That info may be implicit in declarative or procedural statements.    (06)

System B:  Another computational system that imports and uses terms
in V.  B was developed independently of A.  It may use terms in V
in a context C'' that is consistent with the general context C,
but possibly inconsistent with the context C' of System A.    (07)

Problem:  During operations, Systems A and B send messages from
one to the other that use only the vocabulary defined in V.
But the "same" message, which is consistent with the general
context C, may have inconsistent implications in the more
specialized contexts C' and C''.    (08)

Therefore, the shared vocabulary V with shared definitions designated
by URIs is not sufficient to guarantee interoperability among two
independently developed systems that exchange messages that use
only those terms and definitions in V.    (09)

> I would suggest that instead of "messages that use the common
> terms in any combination that has not been standardized may be
> interpreted in inconsistent ways by bank A and bank B" that
> such messages would not be interpretable by the bank that did
> not originate such a message.    (010)

That is the point I was trying to make:  A shared vocabulary
with precise definitions designated by URIs is *not* sufficient
for interoperability among independently developed systems.    (011)

>> Any belief that URIs and closed form definitions can magically solve
>> all these problems is an illusion.    (012)

> Certainly, you will have definitional cycles.  You can not achieve
> closed-form definitions if that is your meaning here.    (013)

Yes.  But people who preach the gospel of URIs seldom, if ever, talk
about "definitional cycles" or the inconsistencies that can arise
when independently developed systems share information that uses
"precise definitions" designated by URIs.    (014)

If anybody is aware of W3C documents that discuss those possible
inconsistencies and state recommendations about how to use URIs
safely, I would very much like to see them.    (015)

John    (016)

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