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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Mike Bennett <mbennett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 03 May 2012 15:45:24 +0100
Message-id: <4FA29A04.8020309@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Thanks, I'll download this and take a look.    (01)

I agree with John that good UIs are needed for ontologies, 
although that wasn't my initial point. We have managed to make 
some mileage by heavily adapting ODM to make use of UML modeling 
tools, but even then there are things you can't really present in 
a business friendly way, for example OWL union classes. I got 
roundly told off on Twitter for daring to suggest that union 
classes are somehow required to be nameless. There is of course a 
perfectly valid syntactical way to define a class which has a 
name and equate it to the anonymous union class. There are, I am 
quite sure, really good technical reasons why the syntax has to 
be like that, but I think it's a case in point for not supporting 
good presentation of ontologies (business concepts) to the very 
business people who might be able to tell you if you got it right 
or wrong.    (02)

The OWL experts expressed incredulity that the above syntactical 
pattern could be any barrier to business domain review. So last 
night at a business reception I tried the following small experiment:    (03)

Me (to business person): If I describe to you the idea of a 
logical union, for example let's say that I draw a box and call 
it Money Market Instrument, and show lines from this to the thing 
it's a union of, such as Certificates of Deposit, Bankers 
Acceptances, Money Market Deposits and so on, would that make sense?    (04)

Business Person: Yes, perfectly    (05)

Me: If I now said that instead of the box above, I had to have a 
box with no name, having the references to the things in the 
union, and then another box called Money Market Instrument, and 
draw a dotted line from one to the other saying that they are the 
same, would that make sense?    (06)

BP: WT*? (or words to that effect)    (07)

Mike    (08)

On 30/03/2012 23:07, Hills, Scott J. (SJHills) (SJHills) wrote:
> John's and Mike's thoughts below prompted me to wonder whether any in this 
>community are familiar with the Utopia Documents interface
>    http://getutopia.com/documents/
> used, for example, by the Biochemical Journal to enable what I expect Alan 
>Renear and Carole Palmer would consider "strategic reading?"
>    http://people.lis.illinois.edu/~renear/norobots/StrategicReadingSCI09.pdf
>    - Science (2009), DOI:10.1126/science.1157784
> If so, does Utopia Document provide what would be regarded as a usable UI?
> Scott Hills
> Chevron Energy Technology Co.
> 1500 Louisiana Street
> Houston, TX  77002
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>[mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Mike Bennett
> Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 9:54 AM
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Constructs, primitives, terms
> Vannevar Bush seems to imply or assume that somewhere along the
> line someone would create a usable user interface that would
> correspond to his description here. I think we're still waiting
> on that.
> Mike
>   >  Both Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson had "factored in" those
> ideas many decades ago. A quotation from VB's article "As We May
> Think":
>>> 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 
>>> The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the 
>>> record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were 
>> This sounds rather familiar today.  But VB wrote it in 1947.
>> John
>>    (09)

Mike Bennett
Hypercube Ltd.
89 Worship Street
London EC2A 2BF
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7917 9522
Mob: +44 (0) 7721 420 730
Registered in England and Wales No. 2461068    (010)

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