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Re: [ontolog-forum] Data, Silos, Interoperability, and Agility

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Barkmeyer, Edward J" <edward.barkmeyer@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2013 16:17:53 +0000
Message-id: <311b95a598a14425b08b01c915006c71@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Kingsley Idehen wrote (in response to David Eddy):    (01)

Three questions to ask everyone on staff:    (02)

- have you ever lost/not been able to find when needed a file or folder?    (03)

- how much training do you have as a catalog librarian?    (04)

- how would you like to stand up in front of your peers & explain your 
folder/file system?    (05)

Just because people are dimly aware folder/files are important doesn't mean 
they do a good job of managing them.    (06)

All of these problems are handled by incorporating the architecture of the 
World Wide Web into File and Data Management. Please note, my comment in no way 
implies World Wide Web access to said artifacts. I am simply expressing the 
fact that making Files and Data web-like (or webby) is a critical part of the 
solution.     (07)

The architecture in question seems to be the "data management" idea of creating 
indexes to the files, which is the Google method of dealing with the Web, and 
not accidentally, the approach used by the Google and Microsoft local search 
helpers for my file system.  It is not clear to me that any "webby" idea in the 
W3C sense is relevant.  The Semantic Web idea was that you take the time to 
mark up the data set with fancy key words, which improves the relevance of the 
search results over the approach of indexing pages, files, documents by 
statistical use of words and wording patterns.  Then you have a language in 
which you can say things about the relationships of the keywords that can 
further improve the search.  All of this depends on people doing the markup and 
saying the useful things about relationships, which most are too lazy to do or 
don't know how to do.  That human factor (that the indexed statistical search 
does not depend on) is the difference in their success rates.    (08)

The LOD idea is the HTML idea of intentional links.  I know this is related to 
that, and I put the reference in the text/data (or maybe in some attached 
metadata object that has to be constructed with a tool, a la Sem Web).  And 
instead of the 14 standard bibliographic citation forms, we have one scheme 
that software can implement directly, and oh yeah, can make indexes for.  The 
idea of formal citations goes back to the 19th (if not 18th) century, and 
catalog indexes by keywords attached to the documents (by somebody) has been a 
staple of library science since the turn of the 20th century.  And I suspect 
that the idea of authors supplying the keywords (the index basis) as well as 
the citations (the intentional links) showed up when the volume of printed 
material exceeded the capabilities of the librarians whose job was to scan the 
work and create the keywords (like Google).  LOD depends on authors putting in 
the links, or subsequent librarians building the metadata.    (09)

So, as Kingsley has repeatedly pointed out, the real Web technologies are 
indeed automating proven techniques.  But let us not get confused as to which 
ones best serve which purposes, given that humans and their behavior patterns 
will be involved.   There are three basic Webby ideas:  knowledge-assisted (or 
nearly blind) statistical indexing, explicit links, and explicit metadata.  
File systems offer a fourth -- hierarchical collections.  Each has its value.    (010)

To go back to the base of this thread, the real reason why we have brittle 
systems is two-fold:  
 - the limitations of current tools and their accessibility to the people who 
have to do the job, and 
 - a lack of clairvoyance as to future requirements, which is only sometimes 
just short-sightedness.  
In 50 years of IT, every new technology just moves the problem.  But along the 
way, what the tools can do for us NOW has improved greatly.  New technologies 
are successful if they are both useful and accessible, or useful and work with 
negligible human interaction.  A technology can only be more or less brittle 
with respect to ANTICIPATED change.  "Disruptive technologies" are rare.  
"Disruptive events" are unfortunately fairly common.  Like the poor, silos and 
legacies you will have with you always.    (011)

-Ed    (012)

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    (013)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST, 
 and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (014)

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