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Re: [ontolog-forum] Intelligent ids and postal codes, was ONTOLOG commun

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Barkmeyer, Edward J" <edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2013 17:02:25 +0000
Message-id: <f83f7f51b984464e8c2b7c6c0820566a@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
"Not that it matters really," but
+1    (01)

The problem of 'semantics' in 'postal codes' is the 'intelligent identifier' 
problem.  The identifiers are 'data structures' in which different parts of the 
structure have separable interpretations.  That doesn't change the functional 
class of the identifier.  It is just that the identifier "string" is a 'data 
set representation'.   But the US ZIPcodes only used to be.  For the record, 
the USPS uses an 11-digit routing code that is unique to individual addresses; 
the 9-digit code usually identifies a Post Office and carrier route (but of 
course, those have changed since the 1970s, without necessarily changing the 
codes).  The original 5-digit ZIP code located a central mail processing 
center, but now there are only about 200 of those, so the relationship is 
n-to-1, with only certain common (but not consistent) relationships between the 
first 3 digits and the processing centers.   (When I worked with USPS in the 
1990s, every processing center got a new CD once every week or so that 
contained the current complete code and location information, so that the 
automated sorters would perform correct routings.  I assume that by now the 
sorters download the current code set before every run.)  The lesson here is 
that time always breaks intelligent identifier systems.      (02)

In the manufacturing industries, companies have formalized 'intelligent part 
number' schemes, that relate pieces of a 18-to-24 character 'part number' to 
business units, functional classes, product lines, manufacturing 
characteristics, materials, etc.   (These may or may not be related to 'group 
technology codes', which are identifiers for sets of features related to 
manufacturing processes and materials.)  There are recent ISO standards, like 
29002, that standardize intelligent identifier schemes.  And of course, there 
are things like the North American Industry Code System and its EU counterpart. 
 Intelligent identifiers are a perfect exemplar for Selden Stewart's 
"seductiveness of simple examples".    (03)

The RFID world standardizes identifier data structures, instead of identifier 
strings.  The actual form is a sequence of (label, value) pairs in which most 
of the labels are relatively well-defined.  For example, the RFID chip on a 
shipping container unloaded in Hamburg identifies the container owner and the 
container id, and the country of origin of the content, the shipper, the 
port-of-departure, the customs codes for the content, the international freight 
codes for content ownership and management and the corresponding role players 
(the ocean carrier, logistics provider, intended recipient, content owner), and 
perhaps the port-of-entry, the mechanism of land carriage and the 'customs 
based' route it will take to reach its destination (e.g., by rail to Torino via 
Geneva).  The point is that these things are data sets, although they are 
called 'identifiers', and only a few of the fields are actually parts of the 
identifier, but all of it can be read and used as needed by systems with 
different roles in the shipping process.  "Intelligent identifiers" try to do 
the same kind of thing by syntactic assignment of character sequences within a 
string.  The intelligent identifier mechanism is brittle, while the (name, 
value) pairs scheme accommodates change over time.  The intelligent identifiers 
system was invented for "paper based" and older processing systems; it is 
nominally readable by humans.  The RFID system requires a special instrument, 
but the only thing that now prevents a cell phone app is a patent license.    (04)

-Ed    (05)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                     Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263             Work:   +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263             Mobile: +1 240-672-5800    (06)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Kingsley Idehen
> Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:39 AM
> To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] ONTOLOG community event planning and
> scheduling session - Thu 2013.09.12 & Thu 2013.09.19
> On 9/11/13 4:48 AM, John F Sowa wrote:
> > Just one short comment:
> >
> >>> I've had "discussions" over Zip Code & Postal code... many people
> >>> would claim they are different.
> >> The are the same concept. They solve the same problem. Their
> >> differences are purely aesthetic,
> > The term 'postal code' is the international term, which includes the
> > US term 'ZIP code' as a subtype.
> >
> > John
> >
> >
> Yes!
> ## Turtle ##
> <#PostalCode>
> <#label> "Postal Code" ;
> <#comment> """The term 'postal code' is the international term, which
> includes the US term 'ZIP code' as a subtype.""" ; <#type> <#kindOfThing>,
> <#Class> .
> <#Zip>
> <#label> "US Postal Code" ;
> <#comment> """The term 'zip code' is the US term for  'postal code' for
> which it is a subtype.""" ; <#kindOf> <#PostalCode> ; <#subClassOf>
> <#PostalCode> .
> # etc...
> ## Turtle End ##
> --
> Regards,
> Kingsley Idehen
> Founder & CEO
> OpenLink Software
> Company Web: http://www.openlinksw.com
> Personal Weblog: http://www.openlinksw.com/blog/~kidehen
> Twitter/Identi.ca handle: @kidehen
> Google+ Profile: https://plus.google.com/112399767740508618350/about
> LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kidehen
>     (07)

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