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RE: [ontac-forum] A potential defining vocabulary for definitions

To: "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Roy Roebuck" <Roy.Roebuck@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 08:49:02 -0400
Message-id: <878871F15E22CF4FA0CCFDD27A763B2F3A8B8F@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi All:


This LDOCE will be quite useful in my own ontology work, to include providing a useful base vocabulary for current and future enterprise architectures.  


As a reminder, my company takes a simplifying approach to EA by synthesizing EA, Ontologies, and model driven architecture (MDA) into a single package that provides a simple and consistent EA methodology and metaschema using ontology-modeling and knowledge-management technology.


Our approach to EA treats the applied EA Framework (documented as an OMG MDA M1 layer metamodel) as an enterprise-specific ontology, and the resulting EA is a knowledge base (documented as an M0 layer metamodel). 


The mechanism to provide ontology integration/merging/linking is at the M2 and M3 layer metamodel levels, which we refer to as our “general ontology”.  The nouns and noun-phrases of the enterprise’s raw vocabulary (extracted from the file/database/directory/message-stores of enterprise user) and this LDOCE and other relevant dictionaries (e.g., medical, IT, legal) are loaded into the M2 layer metamodel for categorization into our seven reference catalogs (generalized taxonomies) of: location, organization, organization unit, function, process, or requirement/mission.  These nouns are then related through the M3 layer metamodel by seven relation types (i.e., categorization beyond the M2 reference catalogs, containment, sequence, change, equivalence as for thesauri, variance, and reference) which classify the relating verbs and verb-phrases from the enterprise raw vocabulary and LDOCE/dictionaries.


This is further described at http://colab.cim3.net/forum//ontac-forum/2005-10/msg00058.html.







CommIT Enterprises, Inc.

Enterprise Architecture for Enterprise Management, Security, and Knowledge

Roy Roebuck III
Senior Enterprise Architect

2231 Crystal Drive, Ste 501
Arlingon, VA



+1 (703)-598-2351
+1 (703) 486-5540
+1 (703) 486-5506


 Add me to your address book...


From: ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Cassidy, Patrick J.
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2005 7:00 PM
To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion
Subject: [ontac-forum] A potential defining vocabulary for definitions


ONTACWG members:


I have placed a file containing the defining vocabulary from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (LDOCE) in the reference folder at:



This is the set of words (about 2200) used by Longman to define all of the 56,000 words and phrases in its dictionary.  That dictionary is intended to be understandable by those learning English, and the editors made a conscious effort to write clearly understandable definitions using the minimum vocabulary.  Many of the words are used in more than one sense, as with words that have multiple parts of speech; the actual number of senses used may be more than 4000.  This is an example of the practice of specifying the meanings of terms or concepts using a relatively small set of defining concepts.  This is analogous to the process by which we hope the Common Semantic Model (COSMO) will enable semantic interoperability of knowledge-based systems built by different groups, by providing a common conceptual defining vocabulary that will be independent of the terms used in community knowledge classification systems, but capable of precisely specifying the meanings of the community terms..


The Longman defining vocabulary could also serve as a starting point for the development of an English defining vocabulary for ONTACWG, which could be used to make it easier to create logically precise definitions, and assertions of fact.  There are several  "Controlled English" programs that have been used to make logical statements in an English-like grammar.  If we have a vocabulary of words with precisely defined meanings, it should be possible to allow definitions to be phrased in normal but moderately restricted English, and be interpreted correctly by the translator program.  Some ambiguity in the defining vocabulary should be resolvable by the lexical context, but it is possible that the full range of meanings actually used in the LDOCE will be too wide to be resolvable, and the "defining vocabulary" or the grammar for defining terms in ONTACWG databases may need to be more restricted than the language the editors of LDOCE use.


As with the COSMO, an English "Defining vocabulary" would be open to additions as required to accommodate the needs of the different communities.  It will always be convenient for specialized communities to use terms with specific meanings in their contexts of interest, including very technical terms.  If those terms themselves could be defined by both the logical specifications of the COSMO and the restricted vocabulary of an ONTACWG "English defining vocabulary", they would constitute specialized extensions of the COSMO and English vocabularies.  Then natural English definitions even in those technical  areas could be created with accurately interpretable meanings.


Attempting to create definitions of community-specific terms using such a defining vocabulary could help to recognize when the logical concept inventory of the COSMO is inadequate and needs supplementation, if it becomes necessary to use English terms that have no associated concept in the COSMO.  Prima facie cases like that could allow domain specialists with only modest familiarity with the COSMO to help the maintenance team to decide which extensions should have greatest priority.  Simple tools like a spell-checker using only the defining vocabulary as its dictionary would help in using that vocabulary for creating precise definitions.


It is likely that similar controlled natural language vocabularies and grammars could be created for other languages, but I myself have no acquaintance with such work.


To use an existing controlled-language system to create definitions for the ONTACWG would require adaptation of such a system to reference the COSMO ontology.  This may take considerable effort, so it will probably be necessary to find projects that are ongoing and for which someone who is familiar with the system will be able to spend some time doing the adaptation.  If any ONTACWG members are acquainted with such a project, perhaps an inquiry to the developers would provide us with information to determine the feasibility of adaptation in each case.  I will be happy to participate in discussions of such a possibility.  Feel free to send suggestions to me directly, or to the list.



Patrick Cassidy
MITRE Corporation
260 Industrial Way
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Mail Stop: MNJE
Phone: 732-578-6340
Cell: 908-565-4053
Fax: 732-578-6012
Email: pcassidy at mitre.org


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