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

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2012 15:46:35 -0500
Message-id: <4F679B2B.7050408@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 3/19/2012 10:55 AM, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
> I think (as is always the case) you have to distinguish individuals from
> organizations they build. TimBL != W3C .    (01)

I agree.    (02)

Tim did an excellent job for the original WWW project, when he managed
a half dozen people to finish the job in one year.  The problem with
a big committee is that "Too many cooks spoil the broth."    (03)

Committees are much better at evaluating and testing alternatives
-- especially when they have sufficient info from design competitions.
And the best kind of competition comes from testing implementations
on actual problems that people pay to get solved.    (04)

The U. of Illinois developed the Mozilla browser with gov't funding
that forced it to be open source.  The original Mozilla designers
extended the source code for their proprietary Netscape, but other
groups continued to extend the same source code -- including a company
that sold their extensions to Microsoft for IE 1.0.    (05)

The problem with that method is that the extensions aren't compatible.
But there was sufficient experience for the ECMA committee to clean up
and harmonize the alternatives for ECMAScript.  That's the best way
to use a committee -- harmonize de facto standards that people use.    (06)

The biggest mistake of the W3C was to treat their RFCs (Requests for
Comment) as if they were standards.  They kept telling people that
RFCs aren't standards, but they kept treating them as if they were.
Tim Bray (who collaborated with Guha to design RDF) said that RDF
was broken back in 1999, but the W3C refused to fix it.    (07)

> None of it [Google's tools or IBM's tools] works or is moderately
> practical re scale of the World Wide Web. They all lead to silos.    (08)

I am not recommending either of them as the ideal solution.  I just
said that we should learn from them.  In any case, Google scales
their tools to the WWW, but they don't address the reasoning issues.
IBM did some interesting stuff on reasoning with Watson.    (09)

Following is a recent article "Whatever became of Watson?"    (010)

http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/whatever_became_of_tv_watson_jX3I6lcVTd4Tjf8mG7HkSO?utm_medium=rss&utm_content=TV    (011)

> You are speaking about JSON syntax over RDFXML or Turtle. And by the way,
> they are using HTML+Microdata, yet another format...    (012)

There are several issues here:    (013)

  1. Trade-offs in syntax for human readability, computer efficiency,
     and compactness in transmission and storage.  JSON is better in
     all three categories.    (014)

  2. Interfaces to various languages and tools.  RDF provides untyped
     triples, but JSON supports typed and untyped N-tuples.    (015)

  3. Relation to web pages.  RDF/XML was designed to be embedded anywhere
     in web pages.  JSON uses JavaScript conventions for grouping
     multiple statements in a block.   It requires tags such as RDFa
     or Microdata to link the blocks to web pages.    (016)

My recommendation is to support everything, and let developers make
their implementation choices on a case by case basis.  Those choices
should be decoupled from the logic and ontology.    (017)

> The information and data space dimensions of the Web are the greatest
> showcases for URIs.    (018)

I agree.  But those advantages came from the Internet address scheme
plus HTML.  The additional features added by XML are useful, but the
desire for HTML5 shows that most webmasters weren't thrilled with XML.    (019)

>> So the "meme" isn't new.    (020)

> The meme is very new when you factor in:
> 1. URIs
> 2. Ubiquity of the World Wide Web.    (021)

Both Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson had "factored in" those ideas many
decades ago.  A quotation from VB's article "As We May Think":    (022)

> Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh
> of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into
> the memex and there amplified. The lawyer has at his touch the associated
> opinions and decisions of his whole experience, and of the experience
> of friends and authorities. The patent attorney has on call the millions
> of issued patents, with familiar trails to every point of his client's
> interest. The physician, puzzled by a patient's reactions, strikes the
> trail established in studying an earlier similar case, and runs rapidly
> through analogous case histories, with side references to the classics
> for the pertinent anatomy and histology. ... The historian, with a vast
> chronological account of a people, parallels it with a skip trail which
> stops only on the salient items, and can follow at any time contemporary
> trails which lead him all over civilization at a particular epoch. There
> is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task
> of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record.
> The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world's
> record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were 
>erected.    (023)

This sounds rather familiar today.  But VB wrote it in 1947.    (024)

John    (025)

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