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Re: [ontolog-forum] is-part-of: a really, really, bad practice?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: matthew lange <mclange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 19 May 2013 22:02:20 -0700
Message-id: <CAKJtitu-Amxty8JOrswyiN-EO9khng5cu6-crY3t2muqS36aSg@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
MatthewLange ||   has less ontology experience than ||  most active ontolog list subscribers
MatthewLange ||   inclined to believe  ||  "ontology relations should be derived from the most common phrase in ordinary language"
"ontology relations should be derived from the most common phrase in ordinary language"  || has author  || JohnSowa
MatthewLange ||   does not understand the goal(s) of   ||    "relationships that are devoid of domain specific content"
"relationships that are devoid of domain specific content" ||   has example  || "plays the role of in"
"relationships that are devoid of domain specific content" ||   has author     || WilliamFrank
MatthewLange ||  likes  ||  bioinformatics
Bioinformatics || requires || "domain-specific relationships"
"domain specific relationships" || has example ||  "catalyzes chemical conversion of"
"catalyzes chemical conversion of" || is verb phrase of   ||  "MTHFR catalyzes chemical conversion of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to  5-methyltetrahydrofolate"

MatthewLange  || wonders  ||  "what am I missing?"
MatthewLange  || hopes      ||  "others will model these phrases differently"
MatthewLange  || especially hopes  ||  "Frank will model these phrases with his relations"

On Sun, May 19, 2013 at 8:30 PM, John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 5/19/2013 5:17 PM, jmcclure@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> I argue the industry badly needs consensus about the best practice
> for how attributes/relations are to be named.

My recommendation is to use the most common phrase in ordinary language.

> in "old style" systems these names are nouns, perhaps qualified nouns;
> in "new style" systems these names are, uh, something other than a noun.

In ordinary English, it's common practice is to represent relations
with nouns.  The syntax of English and other languages allows verbs
and adjectives to be *nominalized* in order to refer to the relations:

"The Romans destroyed Carthage in 146 BC"  =>
     "The destruction of Carthage by the Romans in 146 BC"

"The book is easy to read" =>
     "The ease of reading the book"

For words like part and family relations like mother, child, sibling,
uncle, etc., there are no obvious verbs.  It's more convenient to use
noun + 'of'.  In fact, English syntax makes it easy to switch 'of'
to 'has' in order to form inverses:

"X is the father of Y"  =>  "Y has a father X"  (or has X as father).

"X is a part of Y"  =>  "Y has a part X"

The nominal form is easy to modify as needed:

"X is a proper part of Y"  =>  "Y has a proper part X"

"X is an only child of Y and Z"  =>  "Y and Z have an only child X"

This seems like a good argument for using nouns to name relations.


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