RE: Issues with XML and Semantic Web ?
Quite. No one expects a single interlingua, not before TBL or afterwards. These are the well-known problems of ontologies. The better authorities than TBL are people such as John Sowa, Pat Hayes, etc. Until you map a working ontology to a working database, the practical aspects of size and modularity aren't apparent. Only a novice builds a database with one giant very wide table. On the other hand, ensuring that one has used all of the terminology correctly to name tables and columns, keeping these semantically consistent, and avoiding full normalization that can create performance problems is quite an art. So the single upper level ontology that would span cultures, users and space-time is a pipedream. So no disagreement here. XML works because it knows nothing of meaning. Networks are predicated on the notion that the choices are meaningless to the network (See the first page of Shannon and Weaver's work.) Notion one is reproducibility, not interpretability. A meaningful network is almost an oxymoron. A network of users dynamically negotiating and validating the meaning of messages isn't. len From: Irene Polikoff [mailto:irene@t...] I believe the notion behind the semantic web is many fairly small, intersecting ontologies. As described in TBL underground map: http://www.w3.org/2003/Talks/0922-rsoc-tbl/slide23-0.html. Each colored line in this diagram corresponds to an ontology. No single line visits all the stations; but several stations are visited by more than one line. Information is shared within one ontology to interoperate between, say, the address book and events. Another ontology interoperates between events and photos. The result is interoperation of addresses and photos. This is done without requiring all stakeholders to agree upon a single interlingua that covers all information silos at once. I can't really see how one ontology could be practical even in much smaller environment than Sem Web - such as a single company or a single department within a company. Often, even a single application will require multiple modular ontologies. In theory, the modularity of ontology models should provide the flexibility needed to accommodate different contexts. One could also only reference/use part of an ontology - parts one can "agree with" - without committing to the entire ontology. In practice, we are still figuring out how this will all work.
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