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[ontac-forum] RE: More discussion on silos on the relation of 11179 work

To: <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Gary Berg-Cross" <gary.berg-cross@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 16:18:24 -0400
Message-id: <330E3C69AFABAE45BD91B28F80BE32C9056268@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Denise W,


To start at the end of your remarks. 


> I had offered that we could use the NCI registry to 'register' the ontology that you guys build ...since it already has the ability to load up concepts and create other registry items using them, tools to test getting things out via API or XML downloads, tools to use the data elements on forms, etc.  IT might offer a really quick way to experiment  ...

We would need to enhance the relationship class along the lines of the coming 11179 >recommentations - but we would want to do that eventually anyway...


>Does that make sense?


Yes, I responded because I took it seriously and hoped to learn more and perhaps have a wider discussion.  I’m interested not only because I work with health care models, but because as Pat said back on Oct 10,


The"restricted" task we are discussing, of formalizing the UMLS-SN, and top levels of 
FEA-RMO and DoD Core taxonomy, ….


My work includes having to “map” to the FEA products and we provide input  to the DoD Core taxonomy, so connecting these with the HC domain is of interest to me.


>The 11179 standard is in the process of being vetted re:specific recommendations for the elaboration of taxonomic structures, specifically rings, hierarchies, faceted, network and flat through the description of a relationship class - Frank Olken has been workign on the >proposal...some of which has been voted on and approved and will come out in the next edition.


This was part of the context for my prior message and seems to place 11179 as a “part” of an evolutionary system of formalisms.  I wondered if it were part of a strategy,some type of “federated” approach.  When this is done in a loose or “vague” way it seems likely  to lead to different “systems” of related formalisms that would be in conflict.  So I wanted to know more about what was being proposed to ensure consistency –otherwise it seemed to me we will have silos of taxonomies etc.  If we had a consistent ontology or system of ontology modules then we wouldn’t need the other “parts” such as taxonomy.  Since there are these others it seemed to me that people were thinking of leveraging these to build up to an ontology.  That might be an approach, but we’d probably need to come top-down too.  Can you clarify the thinking here?  The question


>With regard to the creation of silos, if the ontology is within the registry (XMDR/11179 or Edition 3) which is what has been proposed, then the implementation insures that there are no silos, at least within a domain specific registry like the NCI Cancer Data standards Registry (caDSR), at least everything is linked to a common ontology with the registry.  The notion of a higher level       > ontology is a good one...then we can go across domains...no argument there.


OK, if you have an ontology to start with you avoid obvious silos of multiple categorization.  What are the topic level concepts in the ontology  and key relations on these concepts?


>From our persepective, the people designing software applications 11179 regsitry users (consumers of the ontology) aren't necessarily ontology experts (is that stating the obvious?) so if you let them create 11179 data elements, objects, etc on their own, they won't necessarily come up with a sensible language that everyone, even within a domain, would agree upon nor sensible >defintions, etc...(ontology bottoms up..?) .


Yes, this is a way of proceeding, but my intuition is that such work needs to be  validated by coming top down with organizing concepts.


>so - I think we forcefully agree with you - so we decided to enforce the use of the structured vocabularies, preference given in our registry to the NCI cancer ontololgy for all content in the caDSR...there still is the possibility that some of the other medical terminiologies we currently let >users access to create content could overlap with NCI Taxonomy..its not a perfect world..(yet :-) 


Agreed.  It’s fare from a mature discipline so we need to look out for cliffs, keep comparing notes and considering alternatives that balance practical and formal adequateness (ugly phrase that).


All the best


Gary berg-Cross 


BMMP Data Strategy

Crystal City, VA

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