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Re: [ontolog-forum] master data vs. ontologies

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John Bottoms <john@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 06:51:31 -0500
Message-id: <54E47CC3.1030308@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On 2/17/2015 11:17 PM, John F Sowa wrote:
> Folks,
> ...I agree.  All you need to represent full first-order logic is
> three logical operators (and, not, some) plus an open-ended set
> of relations.  If you have that, you can redefine (or discard)
> a huge number of smelly words:  attribute, property, role,
> characteristic, feature, slot, facet, trope, subject, object,
> verb, class, type, category...
> Whenever people argue about the meaning of those words, I tell
> them, "Either define them in logic or throw them out."
JohnS,    (01)

I have two concerns here:    (02)

First, that you may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. When 
you throw out the "smelly words" you are also discarding their data 
structures. That leaves a void that needs to be filled.    (03)

Second, this is not an onomastic problem, the issue is not with the word 
itself, it is with the lexical load that the word brings with it in its 
use. This cannot be remedied with logic, it is a CS issue with how data 
structures are used, labeled and linked.    (04)

My preference is for a definition and usage of terms that move us from 
<entity> to something closer to a Natural Language. We have a choice 
along a linguistic spectrum that relates from <entity> to NL. We can 
select from the following in, hopefully, increasing level of linguistic 
ability.    (05)

A. Use programming language data structures. The utility here is that 
the compiler defines what is legal and well-known. It is then up to the 
user to implement the best uses. This results in knowledge islands that 
are not frequently visited because the knowledge is coded in an obscure 
language.    (06)

B. Use a "container" view. Containers can be defined that hold 
"entities" and have types, labels and links. This is about where we are 
right now and a "slot" is pretty much just a container that additionally 
has a parent and perhaps a child. The weakness in this approach is that 
we have no standard definition of types for links or contained data so 
those must either be assumed to be held within the container or within a 
lexicon for a specified container type.    (07)

C. We could select from among a number of industry, national or 
international standards for nomenclatures for data types and structures. 
As we know, "The nice thing about standards is that we have so many to 
choose from". But for them to be of use we would have to select one. 
This is the base committee task that often fails, resulting in the 
design of a camel. The benefit of this approach is that it would provide 
a migration path from one of the FIPS standards as the basis for an 
ontologic grammar. (This is also why my personal preference is for SGML: 
it is an ISO standard, it is linguistically based, includes a base 
grammar that is more powerful than EBNF, it is extensible and free 
parsers exist for the meta-grammar.)    (08)

D. We could roll our own. If it is determined that no existing rubric 
meets the ontologic requirements then a new one can be created once 
those requirements are documented. This would be slow-going for the 
forum and I fear that industry specifications will result in another 
horrorshow as we have now with the web.    (09)

So, that's it, pick where you want to be on the spectrum or, if I have 
missed something along the spectrum then please let me know. I have been 
working with a large organization to define a basic lexicon for 
ontologies that has reached about 60 words. We are months away from even 
a 0.1 draft.    (010)

We also have SUMO if that is of use, but I have not surveyed it to see 
how it would apply. I support a task of creating an ontology lexicon. I 
doubt we will make any progress until we do. Further, I don't see how we 
can make progress on the IoT without a workable approach to a lexicon. 
And if this group cannot create do that, I doubt we will see one outside 
of a pure industry or association fiat. W3C seems to be the only group 
that could accomplish this and they may not have the expertise to 
accomplish this, beyond using just a simple grammar. Then, the forum 
would still not have a construct for a lexicon.    (011)

-John Bottoms
  FirstStar Systems
  Concord, MA USA    (012)

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