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[ontology-summit] Reusability and Interoperability (was Proceedings: Ont

To: ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 09:20:04 -0400
Message-id: <531DBC04.1070408@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Peter,    (01)

I agree:    (02)

> We had another great session on Thursday (Mar-6) ... Track-A:
> Common Reusable Semantic Content-II - Experiences in Knowledge
> Sharing: Lessons from research and experience in Big Data,
> Linked Data and Semantic Web Applications.    (03)

But I changed the subject line of this thread to reflect some
issues that came up in the questions (both oral and typed).    (04)

Basic point:  Different kinds of applications have different
requirements for ontology.  There is no such thing as a common
definition of reusability or interoperability that can cover
all the versions.    (05)

In fact, there is no common definition of 'reuse' or 'interoperable'
that covers all the ways that artifacts of any kind -- physical
or computational -- can be used or reused.    (06)

Physically, there is very little reuse, except as spare parts from
junkyards.  And they're mainly used to replace identical or nearly
identical parts in objects for which the manufacturers *planned*
in advance to have a modest amount of reusability.    (07)

Computationally, the situation is similar:  parts can only be reused
on the same platform.  You can build parts on a general platform,
such as Posix, and convert them to other platforms.  But if you build
on a very specialized platform (eg, Windows or Apple), you can only
reuse the parts on variations of the same platform.    (08)

You can move data across platforms.  But the more structure there
is in the data, the harder it is to move.  Just imagine the problems
of moving an SQL database from Oracle to DB2.  Even moving a PDF file
to a DOC or HTML file is nontrivial.  You either get a very buggy
version, or you get a clean version by brute force:  convert each
PDF page to JPG and embed it in a DOC or HTML wrapper.    (09)

For ontologies, an underspecified ontology such as Schema.org can
be reused in many applications on different platforms.  Some OWL
ontologies are easy to move -- provided that they don't use anything
beyond Aristotle -- eg, the GoodRelations ontology, which was moved
to Schema.org.    (010)

Any ontology that has more detail can only be reused within the
platform it was designed for.  RDF and RDFS are so limited that
anything defined in them can be very underspecified -- and
therefore "easier" to reuse.    (011)

But people can and do use RDF and RDFS with a large amount of local
"conventions".  But those conventions are an informal ontology whose
details are specified only in the comments.  The problems of reusing
such data are the same as the problems of reusing any structured data
with some specialized, idiosyncratic, poorly defined structure.    (012)

_____________________________________________________________________    (013)

For the slides, audio, and chat from the session, see the archives:
http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2014_03_06    (014)

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