Dear John, (01)
> On 1/31/2011 3:30 AM, Matthew West wrote:
> > "Did you know we lost an important customer last week/month/year? We
> > billed him for $100k twice, and kept on pursuing him when he had paid
> > the bill because of the second bill. That was all because he had
> > different names in different systems."
> That has been happening forever, and a good ontology, by itself,
> won't solve it. (02)
MW: I'm not aware of anything that a good ontology by itself will solve.
> If you want more examples, I recommend Bill Kent's book, _Data and
> Reality_, which was written in 1978 and reissued in paperback in 2000.
> Bill presented many good examples about databases, which are just
> as appropriate for ontologies. (There is nothing new under the sun
> -- or in the Semantic Web.) (03)
MW: Yes it is an excellent book.
> An oil company had different definitions of 'oil well' in their
> geology department and their financial department:
> Geology: An oil well is a hole drilled or dug for the purpose of
> obtaining oil, whether or not it turned out to be dry.
> Finance: An oil well is a pipe connected to one or more holes
> that produce oil -- no records of dry holes and the data for
> multiple holes is merged.
> They wanted to relate the two databases in order to correlate
> the production data with the geological data. But the two
> definitions were incompatible. (04)
MW: Ironically, I was at a PPDM meeting last year, and "What is a well?" is
still a hot topic some 30 years later (it is actually a genuinely difficult
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> Another example:
> A mining company used mules to pull ore out of their mines because
> they wanted to avoid sparks that might trigger an explosion. To
> keep track of their mules, they assigned them employee numbers.
> When they automated their databases, they added an extra option
> to the sex field: Male, Female, or Mule.
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