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[ontolog-forum] Question on last week's panel: data vs. metadaa?

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: joel sachs <jsachs@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 11:37:27 -0500 (EST)
Message-id: <alpine.LRH.2.02.1211061131370.16805@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Mark, Peter, and Everyone,    (01)

Here's the question I was asking as time ran out on Thursday. (Looking at 
the chat transcript, I see Boyan already started to answer.)    (02)

Some of the ontologies described in the presentations seemed to be 
primarily designed to provide metadata vocabulary terms. Others, to enable 
the representation of the underlying data. I know that the data/metadata 
distinction is blurry, 
especially in RDF; but it is sometimes useful. For example, if a 
declaration of synonymy will be used primarily for query expansion of 
search keywords, then the consequences of an inexact match aren't too 
terrible. But if those terms are labels of numerical fields that are 
computed over, the situation is more serious. [1]    (03)

For example, the question was raised on the chat about whether the ENVO 
notion of "void" was identical or merely similar to Boyan's extension of 
the DOLCE notion of "void". I'd be interested to know in which use cases 
identity is required, and in which mere similarity would suffice.    (04)

More generally, my question for all the presenters was: for each of the 
ontologies discussed, are the use cases and competency questions primarily 
about finding relevant datasets, correctly modelling a domain, or aligning, 
integrating, and 
computing over numerical data?    (05)

If the question makes no sense, please let me know.    (06)

Many thanks to everyone who presented - the panel was excellent.    (07)

Joel.    (08)

1. For a dramatic example, see the case that John Wieczorek referred to 
when we were discussing how to accommodate multiple geodetic datums for 
the lat/long values being provided at the TDWG bioblitz: 
http://lists.tdwg.org/pipermail/tdwg-tag/2010-August/000040.html    (09)

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