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[ontolog-forum] Quick take on where we stand in our discussions

To: "'Ontology Summit 2007 Forum'" <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Steve Ray" <ray@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 21:47:05 -0500
Message-id: <002601c744e2$17835890$ad210681@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

I would like to take this opportunity to share my perception of where things
stand, and where we are headed, with respect to the Ontology Summit 2007. We are
clearly having a vigorous discussion - several in fact - so I feel it is
important to clarify our objectives.    (01)

As originally stated, our principal objective is "to define and agree to a
systematic means of categorizing the many kinds of things that are referred to
as "an ontology." This specific goal has been addressed in a number of mailings.
As the conversation develops, you will be able to see how it is shaping up by
visiting the wiki page at:
ation    (02)

At the same time, we have been having an intense discussion surrounding the
definition of "ontology". While this is not the main goal of the summit, one can
see how having a solid definition, or set of definitions, could be useful for
the primary goal. The definition discussion is being summarized at:
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OntologySummit2007_DefinitionsOfOntology    (03)

This is all just getting started. Each of these branches of the conversation are
linked to, at the bottom of the main Ontology Summit 2007 page at:
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OntologySummit2007#nidSPA    (04)

The idea is that each of these summaries will be administered by a volunteer, so
that the rest of us can visit that page without necessarily wading through
dozens of emails per day, especially if we are mainly interested in just one
aspect or another. We fully expect the number of branches to increase.    (05)

I say all this in the hope that none of you feels alienated by any of the
threads of email. Please keep checking in with the wiki pages at the above links
if you would like less of a deluge of information and opinions. Ultimately, once
our collective thoughts coalesce, attention will be directed toward the joint
statemtnt (the communique), which will be taking shape at:
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OntologySummit2007_JointCommunique/Draft    (06)

My personal hope is that we end up with some sort of structure that is very
simple and accessible at first encounter, such that a lay person can easily
grasp the idea. The curious observer might then look "under the hood" to
discover a richer structure that better captures the multiple dimensions that
differentiate the many things claiming to be an ontology of sorts. Part of that
richer structure might well invoke some of the definitions of ontology, or of
formality that are under debate right now.    (07)

Finally, if you feel that your expectations are not being met, please do let the
community know, and we will continue to try to enable a productive experience
for us all.    (08)

- Steve Ray    (09)

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