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RE: [ontac-forum] Problems of ontology -- and terminology

To: "ONTAC-WG General Discussion" <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "West, Matthew R SIPC-DFD/321" <matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 21 May 2006 09:45:59 +0100
Message-id: <A94B3B171A49A4448F0CEEB458AA661F032BBDB0@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear John,    (01)


MW: I have never done this, so I am surprised you think this 
is something I need to stop doing. This is a problem for people
who come from a linguistic background, but as an engineer, I deal
with reality, not how people describe it.
> MW> It depends on what you are trying to do. Full integration
>  > would probably allow you to do things that could not be
>  > done in any of them individually. Partial integration allows
>  > them to interoperate which allows you to do just what each
>  > of them can do.
> The term "full integration" is meaningless.  Every computer
> system of any size is constantly being updated and revised.
> It is impossible to have "full integration" of version 1.2.3
> with version 1.2.4, much less with any version of any system
> that was independently developed.    (03)

MW: When you do full integration you need to produce an additional
environment outside the systems you are integrating. In this 
environment you can find you have additional capabilities beyond
those of the systems you are integrating.
> MW> ... the more ontologies you have to map to each other
>  > the cheaper it becomes to do one mapping from each to an
>  > integrating ontology (which might of course be one of them).
> If you really mean what you are saying, I believe that you are
> using the word "ontology" for what I am calling a "terminology."    (04)

MW: Not at all. Each systems has its own ontology. If all you 
have to do is align terms, then you have had nothing to do of
any significance. Creating mappings between ontologies being more
efficient using a hub and spoke approach rather than a peer-to-peer
approach is just a matter of pragmatics. Try drawing a set of 5
points and then all the possible links between them. Now as an 
alternative, put one point in the middle of the 5 and draw one line
from each to the hub. Which has the most lines?
> A lot of people have aligned their terminologies, but nobody
> has ever aligned any large ontology with any other in the
> sense that all inferences with one are *identical* to all
> the inferences with the other.    (05)

MW: This is not the purpose of integrating legacy systems. You do 
not align legacy systems. You map between them. The purpose is to
ensure that what is mapped has the same meaning in each system.    (06)

Regards    (07)

Matthew West
Reference Data Architecture and Standards Manager
Shell International Petroleum Company Limited
Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom    (08)

Tel: +44 20 7934 4490 Mobile: +44 7796 336538
Email: matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx
http://www.matthew-west.org.uk/    (09)

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