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Re: [oor-forum] Defining "Ontology Repository" (maybe "OntologyRegistry"

To: OpenOntologyRepository-discussion <oor-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Peter Yim" <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2008 07:29:33 -0800
Message-id: <af8f58ac0802040729o23c6ded7g98f1a0a7d0481cf9@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Thank you, Dennis, on sharing your insight.

Focusing on the subject matter (i.e. trying to get a (set of) definition adopted), do we have:

(a) alternate candidate definition(s) that anyone else want to put forth for "Ontology Repository" ?

(b) any other definitions one may want to propose for adoption together with "Ontology Repository" (maybe "OntologyRegistry" ?) as a set?

Please bring it up now (and quickly, along with someone to second the motion). We will be putting the whole subject matter to a vote in 20 minutes.

Thanks & regards.  =ppy

On Feb 4, 2008 1:43 AM, Dennis Nicholson <d.m.nicholson@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Hi Everyone

I haven't contributed until now because of lack of time, but I have a couple
of comments on the definitions. I am coming at this from the perspective of
a terminologies project called HILT (http://hilt.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/)

Our assumption in HILT is that there will be many terminology services
scattered across the globe that will each be essentially what you mean by a
repository, although I'd put it something like this:

An terminology/ontology repository is a facility where one or more
ontologies/terminologies (NKOS) are stored, retrieved and managed (I dropped
the 'and related information artifacts' bit since I don't know what it

So far, very little difference. Where we differ quite a lot (if I understand
correctly) is on the registry front. I agree that a repository needs a
'table of contents', especially if it stores and makes accessible many NKOS,
but so far we have tended to refer to that in HILT by calling it an 'explain
file', following the parlance of the Z39.50 and SRW standards. Again, not a
huge difference, just a different name for a similar thing.

We do use the term 'registry', but for something different. For us, a
terminologies/ontologies registry is essentially a finding service for what
you call repositories. If there are terminologies/ontologies repositories
dotted all over the place, you need a service you can go to where you can
find out the ones that exist, what their characteristics are, and
(crucially) how you go about accessing them (what their addresses, access
methods etc are).

I should say that not everyone outside of HILT agrees with that definition.
Some people come much closer to your definition, but (I think) still assume
that the registry is a physically separate service from the repositories.
This is where we (my HILT project) get into architectures. For me, you need
terminology repositories all over the place with explain files and you need
registries to find them. You don't need anything else. Some people seem to
think you need physically distinct registries to the job of what you call
repository registries and I call explain files. I don't think you do. There
is a JISC funded project in the UK that will look at the idea of a
terminologies registry soon and HILT will  contributed to that(indeed,
already has) - which is not to suggest that it will necessarily end up
agreeing with our definition.

The good thing about the above is there is (again) no real conflict over
what we mean by a repository, it is the fact that you call what I call an
explain file a registry that is the difficulty for me. For me a registry is
something else entirely.

I'm sending this to you for information - in case you find it useful. It
would be unfair of me to try to re-start your discussion when I've been AWOL
the whole time you've been discussing this - please feel free to ignore it
if you consider it 'too little, too late').


Dennis Nicholson
Director, Centre for Digital Library Research Information Resources
Directorate, Livingstone Tower,
26 Richmond Street, Glasgow, G1 1XH
Email: d.m.nicholson@xxxxxxxxxxxx.
Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 2102
Mobile: 07720 555 298

-----Original Message-----
From: oor-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:oor-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Peter Yim
Sent: 01 February 2008 15:48
To: OpenOntologyRepository-discussion
Subject: Re: [oor-forum] Defining "Ontology Repository" (maybe
"OntologyRegistry" too) for the OOR Initiative


The seven days we set aside for discussion has come and gone, and 16 or so
exchanges were made on the subject matter. It is about time to bring this to

So far we still have only one (well formed) proposed candidate for our
definition of "Ontology Repository," and that is:

Candidate-(A):   "An ontology repository is a facility where
ontologies and related information artifacts can be stored, retrieved and

I'll wait 3 calendar days for anyone to propose and second other candidates.
Past this time next Monday 2008.02.04, we will put things to a vote.

I concur with Lee that:

Lee Feigenbaum  wrote an 23, 2008 10:08 PM EST
> [LF]  there was a consensus understanding in general of the
> distinction between a repository and a registry -- if we agree on a
> definition for a repository (which is our end goal, if I understand
> the project correctly :-), then perhaps we do not need to belabor a
> definition of ontology registry as well

I think the documented discussion during our Jan-23 meeting on what a
"registry" is (ref.
) is enough to allow us to move forward.

Therefore, if you have alternative candidate definitions for "Ontology
Repository", please response to this message and make a motion for its
adoption by this team. Please try to find someone to second your motion too.

Thanks & regards.  =ppy

P.S.  Once again, I hope we can just summarily adopt the above definition
(if there are no alternative proposals, and no objections) and go forward.

On Jan 23, 2008 12:02 PM, Peter Yim <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > In particular, were made an attempt (and came close) to adopting a
> > definition for "ontology repository" (possibly even "ontology
> > registry"), but decided to put this up for asynchronous discussion
> > deliberation due to time constraints.
> Ref.
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OOR/ConferenceCall_2008_01_23#
> nid17US
> We were close ... (and have got to):
> "An ontology repository is a facility where ontologies and related
> information artifacts can be stored, retrieved and managed."
> Let's open this up for discussion and then put it to a vote after 7
> calendar days (from the time-stamp of this message).
> Feel free to attempt defining "ontology registry" or "registry" too.
> If we are getting close, we'll adopt that as well.
> Thanks & regards.  =ppy
> --


> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Peter Yim <peter.yim@xxxxxxxx>
> Date: Jan 23, 2008 11:55 AM
> Subject: Re: [oor-forum] Founding Members Meeting of the Open Ontology
> Repository (OOR) Initiative - Wed 2008.01.23
> To: oor-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> We had a very fruitful meeting today, thanks to all who were able to join
> For those who were able to call in, the proceedings are captured at
> the session page at:
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OOR/ConferenceCall_2008_01_23
> In particular, were made an attempt (and came close) to adopting a
> definition for "ontology repository" (possibly even "ontology
> registry"), but decided to put this up for asynchronous discussion
> deliberation due to time constraints. (I'll start a thread on this in
> a moment.)
> Very encouraging is the fact that the NIST-Ontology-NCOR-...
> co-organized "OntologySummit2008" has adopted "Toward An Open Ontology
> Repository" as the main theme this year. We are looking forward to
> bootstrap from that initiative. Ideas as to how we could do it would
> be welcome.
> Our next call is scheduled for Wed 2008.02.13 - 1.5 Hr. starting at:
> 1pm PST / 4pm EST / 21:00 GMT/UTC.
> Please mark your calendars now and refer to details at the wiki
> session page (closer to the time) at:
> http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OOR/ConferenceCall_2008_02_13
> Look forward to having you all at the next meeting.
> Regards.  =ppy
> --

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