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Colleen Downing

Dave, can you recommend upcoming conferences that are similiar in technical nature to the semantic technology conference that might be occurring in the next few months? I have a government client that would like to attend one of these semantic conferences. Unfortunately they were not able to attend the semantic tech conference this year.

Colleen Downing

Dave McComb

Nova (and anyone),
I'm presenting the ontology and the justification behind it this afternoon at the conference. In the meantime the OWL file, and a copy of the presentation are available at the link above (gist-ont.com).

I would love to hear your feedback. I've tried to emphasizee ease of understanding and ease of adoption over a lot of other concerns, including rigorous proof and fine grained precision. So let me know if it fits your expectation in that regard.


Nova Spivack

Hi Dave, I would be very interested to take a look at the ontology. Is there an OWL file or Protege project I can download? I worked on the Clib upper ontology with University of Texas Austin, for the SRI DARPA CALO project. I still haven't found an upper ontology that is EASY to use. Maybe you've solved that?


Dan McCreary

I agree that for basic interoperability issues, a simple upper ontology makes integration using graphical mapping tools MUCH more straightforward. I am looking forward to attending your presentation to see how GIST compares with the DOJ/DHS NIEM standard. NIEM is based on GJXDM which uses a very simple ADOP (Activity, Document, Organization, Person) structure. It seems like many documents that need to be sent between organizations can start with these conceptual data elements and grow. Combining these structures with ISO-11179 naming standards, namespaces and a well-written data element definition really has made integration much easier for me. This is admittedly low-tech approach but with very high ROI. A widely-adopted semantic wiki for tracking metadata usage with good statistical reports could show what data elements are in fact used the most often and what data elements should be included in a GIST.

I am looking forward to your presentation! - Dan

Dave McComb

Yeah, bummer about that geospatial temporal problem you've got with your personal upper ontology that prevents you from being at two places at once. Me too.

You are right, and I have been doing a lot of that. I find huge value in retracing the footsteps of others, especially at the design level. But at the run time level we really are going to have to import and commit to some shared ontologies to get any kind of federation of information going.

David Allen

Dave, I'd love to attend this session, if I wasn't presenting at the same time in another room. :)

Anyway, I do think this is an idea worth exploring. I would add though that when you say "use a minimalist upper ontology" you don't necessary have to import all of the definitions and constraints into the actual ontology you're using. I have found upper ontologies very useful as reference points even in just the documentation. This can serve as a disambiguation.

Example: I have a concept "Foot" in my ontology. By associating it (either formally or just by a reference in the documentation) as like a SUMO concept, it can tell you which kind of foot I mean. Two possible SUMO concepts: Entity -> Physical -> Object (the thing attached to your leg) and Entity -> Abstract -> Quantity -> Physical Quantity (i.e. foot as a unit of measure). Maybe for some other reason, you don't think length is these, perhaps for your purposes it's an Entity -> Abstract -> Relation -> Spatial Relation. (i.e. a foot describing the relationship of being 12 inches separated from something else) If so, note that. Categorizing your concepts in this way illuminates your biases and intentions for using the concepts in practice.

One cheap and quick way to define a minimalist upper ontology would be "take your favorite upper ontology (such as SUMO) and use only the first X layers" where X is a small number, perhaps 4. In that case, with SUMO you might consider Entity -> Abstract -> Quantity -> Number as your most granular upper ontology concept, and you wouldn't go to the length of Entity -> Abstract -> Quantity -> Number -> ImaginaryNumber. That could be problematic depending on how the upper ontology is modeled, but it's a quick bootstrap.

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