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RE: [ontac-forum] Some thoughts on hub ontology and merging sources

To: "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "West, Matthew R SIPC-DFD/321" <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 13:39:28 -0000
Message-id: <A94B3B171A49A4448F0CEEB458AA661F02A8096D@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Roy,
See below (MW2)
Subject: RE: [ontac-forum] Some thoughts on hub ontology and merging sources



I discovered, modeled, and informally published them in the early 1980’s, and personally have been using them since then.  I informally published them on the Internet in 1994, at http://one-world-is.com.  This is the source for what I’m asserting as the “General Ontology” - it is good enough (as a hub/core/general ontology) to provide a general-use knowledge-base (i.e., from an endeavor’s framework (as an ontology) yielding a model/architecture) and provide the foundation for role-based-security and virtual applications for the subjects modeled within it. 


MW: I think you will find many people here have done something similar, some even on a similar timescale.  [RR: Fully agree.  I see it as a natural progression of capability to record, process, and visualize information.  See attached diagram on Progression of Written Information.  Note that the whole industry of “object orientation” began around the same time frame.  All I did was say that the “enterprise is an object in its environment”, and then used object-oriented analysis and design to build myself some useful applications.  My only prevalent distinction is the “whole enterprise” perspective and the use of a limited number of root classes, relationships, and roles, which I discovered in my roles as manager and analyst.] 


MW2: From your more recent link I've been able to get a very quick look at what you are offering. It seems to cover the same sort of territory as the Zachman Framework, which I am more familiar with, is that a fair comparison?


When looking at the range of Ontologist-orientations present in this forum, I see two main axes of divergence.  I call one the “Utility” axis, which ranges from “Philosophy” on one end to “Pragmatic” on the other.  The other I call the ‘Correctness” axis, which ranges from “Purist/Final/100% correctness” on one end to “Sufficient/Practical/Workable correctness” on the other.   


MW: I think you will find that these axes are aligned, so that the more philosophical are also higher on the correctness scale. [RR:  Fully agree.]  This is because (my experience at least is) that the more correct you try to be the more philosphical you have to get to achieve that. Again my personal experience and journey has been that the more capability you wish to deliver, the more "correct" you need to be. [RR:  But something can start out as a pragmatic, but not technically pure ontology/knowedge-management/application effort and migrate towards philosophical purity as it evolves.  Most people wouldn’t mind paying for a “good enough” solution right now rather than a complete/perfect solution sometime later.] 


MW2: Well I don't know about most people, but certainly some people probably would. Depends what your action timeline is. 


The General Ontology I’m offering may not be philosophically pure, but it is practically sufficient.   


MW: I don't doubt that it is, but the question is for what? The more it is to be interpreted by people rather than machines, the more pragmatic/less "correct" you can afford to be. People fill in the gaps and think for themselves. The more you are expecting machines to interpret the ontology the more "correct" it needs to be because machines are awefully dumb. But I'm sure you know that.


 I would submit that ONTAC is chartered to produce Pragmatic and Sufficient ontology/semantic/taxonomy solutions for SICoP and FEA/CIOC/AIC, and not get bogged down into the Analysis-Paralysis of ontology Philosophy and Purity. 


MW: I ask again - for what? [To provide near-term future Federal Enterprise Architecture as an ontology-based knowledge-management foundation for Federal virtual/composite applications, and for functional integration, continuity, and stability of operations, in my experience.] 


MW2: I agree that is what it appears to address. However, before I accepted it I would want to do some quality assurance. For me this would mean mapping it into the ISO 15926 ontology to see the nature of the sorts of things it included (and whether they were well enough defined to place them accurately). I expect Barry Smith would want to do the same with BFO before he would be comfortable (and so on for others with upper ontologies). I would also want to look at other sources of evidence of requirements, such as the Zachman Framework and the data model David Hay has produced based on it. I might add that I did not think that this was the limit of the scope of the proposed work here.





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
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From: ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontac-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of psp
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2005 10:26 AM
To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion
Subject: RE: [ontac-forum] Some thoughts on hub ontology and merging sources


When did these "good enough" ontologies become available?


Paul Prueitt

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