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

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2012 09:06:56 -0500
Message-id: <4F61F780.8090903@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 3/14/2012 8:25 PM, Paul Tyson wrote:
> Nobody should believe URIs by themselves will solve all problems. But
> thinking with and about URIs is a good problem-solving methodology.    (01)

Every professional field was defining terminologies with standardized
names long before computers came along.  There are large numbers of
ISO standards for them.  And there is a trivial way to make them URIs:    (02)

  1. Put all the terms and their definitions in a file.    (03)

  2. Make that file available on the WWW with an http address.    (04)

  3. Put # in front of each id to index the file.    (05)

  4. Presto Zingo!  All the unique identifiers are now URIs.    (06)

We have universal agreement that URIs are useful.  End of debate.    (07)

> Or contrast that with a decision to accept the ontologies provided by
> your COTS enterprise software packages. If you are lucky enough, or
> small enough, to be able to run your business on only one such package,
> and never have to export any data, then you are golden. Otherwise you
> must work out some integration strategy, and again, in general and over
> the long run, an integration strategy based on externalizing the
> necessary elements as URIs will be cheaper and more effective than any
> other.    (08)

What planet have you come from?  Every professional field and subfield
has unique identifiers that can be converted to URIs by the very quick
and simple method above.    (09)

But the problem of relating traditional terms to technical terms is much 
harder.  In medicine, for example, you also have the problem that
the traditional terms in different countries with different languages
and methods of diagnostics and therapy evolved in different ways. When
you try to develop international standards, you discover that many
technical terms have no one-to-one mapping.    (010)

Then when you get to so-called "modern" technologies like computers,
you might think the problem would be simpler.  But no!  Just imagine
an engineer going from IBM to HP to Apple to Microsoft.  Each step
is a huge culture shock with different practices and terminologies.
Even the move from the sales division of any of those companies to
the engineering, manufacturing, accounting, or legal departments
of the *same* company is a culture shock.    (011)

For another culture shock, go from a sales office of one company
to a sales office of the same company in a different country.
When I was at IBM, I was talking with a colleague who was born
in Switzerland and worked at the IBM Paris headquarters.  He was
completely fluent in French, German, and English. But if he visited
an IBM customer in France, he made sure that he brought somebody
from a French sales office to make the presentation.    (012)

> Contrast that with a decision to model things of interest to the
> enterprise using UML/SysML, or EXPRESS in the mode of ISO 10303 or
> ISO 15296. Development cycles are long and costly, and uninformed
> by immediate feedback.    (013)

What?!?!?  The people who designed the Semantic Web technologies were
looking at problems that are orthogonal to those issues.  In fact,
many people in the W3C recognize that UML diagrams are a good SW
notation that people can read and use on Day 1.    (014)

Furthermore, the tools for processing UML are completely integrated
with mainstream IT, and they have a simple mapping to the SW tools.
If the W3C had adopted UML diagrams in 1998, the Semantic Web would
have been integrated with mainstream IT a dozen years ago.    (015)

They still have that option.    (016)

John    (017)

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