Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ontology Development - Do we collaborate?

One of the still unresolved problems in MarcOnt Portal is how to integrate suggestions from the community into new release of the ontology; which suggestions will conflict, how to choose the ones to be used, etc. MarcOnt Portal group still fights with the code base: switching to new SemVersion, fighting with FOAFRealm+SemVersion integration, and hardening the implementation. And we keep forgetting about that question - how to design and algorithm for semi-automated agreement on new versions of ontologies.

I guess, we should start with the definition of the ontology:

An ontology is a specification of a conceptualization. (...) Practically, an ontological commitment is an agreement to use a vocabulary (i.e., ask queries and make assertions) in a way that is consistent (but not complete) with respect to the theory specified by an ontology.
Tom Gruber “What is an Ontology?”

In other words - ontology is should be based on the agreement among the community of experts in the specific domain.

Should we try to talk to as many domain experts from various ontology development groups as possible, and see how they do that in practice?

There is some research done in that area already; have following article as an example.

But, when we look into an average ontology development - is it always based on the community agreement? I hope we will figure it out soon, as it is the cornerstone of our future research on MarcOnt Portal.

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