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

To: Ontology Summit 2014 discussion <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Andrea Westerinen <arwesterinen@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:10:20 -0400
Message-id: <CALThp9=TXTKcGVO8OQcHiW=vd4cHcz4cP7OfsDq8BbbOTm3zmA@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
I would like to disagree a bit in this discussion on semantic grounds.

John says:
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.

I certainly agree that there are many requirements for reuse and/or interoperability.  These are as varied as the applications.  However, we should be able to define the concepts themselves (as below) and some basic metadata that begins to enable reuse.  (Other information will be needed in different domains and can be added.)  Just as there is common metadata defined by SKOS or Dublin Core, I believe that there should be common semantic metadata.  There was a thread on the public-lod mail list that specifically asked for this, "Evaluation of ontology reuse choices in real-world scenarios" (Feb 20).  Unfortunately, there were no specific answers.

How about the following for our basic definitions:
* Reusable - "Capable of being used again" (from WordNet)
  This begs the question of what makes semantic content "capable" of being used again.  I postulate that the
  previous discussions that are summarized on Track A's community input page [1] start to define the conditions
  and metadata.
* Interoperability - "Ability of systems or organizations to work together" (from Wikipedia)
  This begs the question of what "working together" means.  I think that in the semantic content space, that
  means exchanging (or sharing) and interpreting data.  I specifically want to add the "interpretation" component
  since simple syntactic data exchange does not allow use.  Semantics have to be understood.

Gary says:
I wonder if we would be selling our experience and understanding short. Haven't we made progress on understanding several areas of semantic relations that
can be reused?  Distinctions among different types of Part relations come to mind and
are post-Aristotle.

I agree that we do have common semantics already that need to be highlighted - part, dependency, generalization/specialization, events, ... These concepts are certainly cross domain, but need not apply to every application.  OTOH, we also have domain specific semantics such as the diagnosis-illness-gene pattern of Michel's talk.

All of these semantics need more than just a definition and encoding in RDF or OWL.  They need the backing tooling, metadata and repository that we have highlighted.

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