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Re: [ontolog-forum] What the difference re., Data Dictionary, Ontology,

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: David Eddy <deddy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 15:27:52 -0500
Message-id: <DEB8D6BD-D12C-4A20-B6A5-326DBDB12F7B@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Kingsley -

On Feb 14, 2014, at 3:00 PM, Kingsley Idehen wrote:

An Ontology is (IMHO) very much a kind of Data Dictionary. I wait to be convinced otherwise.

But as you have repeatedly expressed, you/Ontolog/LinkedData has zero interest in legacy systems.  Have I missed something?

I think I'm on pretty safe ground that moving legacy data to OpenData is a non-starter.  When one removes data from its native locale, it tends to go wonky (that's a technical term).

A little detail is that the contents of a data dictionary isn't what people typically think of as data.

Data is something like the value "12345" in a field in a database.

The data dictionary would contain the definition(s) for "ZipCode".  And perhaps, if we're really lucky the rules for valid ZipCode values, but it would likely not contain "12345" as a value for ZipCode.  Much less 2M records with ZipCode values.

The person using a database is looking for say how many customers who've spent more than $10,000 last year in ZipCode 12345.

The person using the data dictionary is asking questions about the systems that contain that ZipCode + sales values.  Where ZipCode will very likely be used across dozens/100s/1000s of applications under every imaginable name under the sun.

An appropriate use of data dictionary would be to research the potential size of a project to expand ZipCode from 5 digits to 9, 11, or 13.  How many data structures, sorts, programs, & reports will need to be changed?

If it existed in the context(s) of the 1000s of applications & artifacts that potentially touch this ZipCode expansion project, I'd like to think a good Ontology might be useful to finger the various labels that represent ZipCode... but so far I haven't seen a glimmer of interest in such a pedestrian task.

- David

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