Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Good Ontologies and the Semantic Web

Judging the likely Success of an Ontology "The debate about the promised value of the Semantic Web seems to me to be missing a dispassionate examination of the success, or otherwise, of existing ontology based solutions. Clay Shirky is obviously right when he states that a single monolithic ontology will never work. His critics are equally right when they claim the Semantic web will only work if it is a melange of multiple interoperable Ontologies."

"The success or failure of any ontology should be judged primarily by it's ability to support the exchange of operational activity data between agents. This can only be confirmed after the ontology is implemented by assessing how the system performs in the context of use. To reduce the risk of failure in the early stages of specification the various components of the ontology should be assessed individually and collectively in terms of their ability to support required use cases for operational activity data."

From the same blog, Ontology Review 1. The NHS Common Basic Specification. Why top level Ontologies don't work. and Ontology Review 2: The International System of Units (SI). US Resistance to Adoption of the Metric System.

"Building a great ontology is only the first step. Getting people to adopt it is far more challenging. Adoption is not driven by the merits of the new ontology alone. Enforcement is often required. The US will not become metric until congress is prepared to enact enforceable laws that mandate the use of the metric system."
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