[tdwg-content] DSW questions

Bob Morris morris.bob at gmail.com
Thu Jan 26 02:30:54 CET 2012

Without regard to your position---for which I'd have to look more
carefully at DSW to agree or not---my own present position is that
reasoning on data described by an ontology is way more interesting
than reasoning on the ontology itself.Well, sometimes.  For example,
due to the strong typing they provide by putting domains on properties
(of which I disapprove, but that's another story), you can infer types
in the data whether they were avowed or not. In particular, they may
have enough in play to detect avowed type errors in the data just
because the reasoner would signal an inconsistency.

My current hobby horse is to evaluate ontologies with competency
questions, preferably phrased formally with SPARQL or some other query
language.  When I make those, the data seems to be foremost on my


On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM, Hilmar Lapp <hlapp at nescent.org> wrote:
> Hi Steve and Cam,
> I have a question re: your design of the current Semantic Darwin Core ontology. (And this is assuming that with the published 0.2 version I have the latest one in hand.)
> My understanding is that all classes in DSW are imported from either DwC or DC (or FOAF), in order to reuse those terms. While that's a good idea in principle, it seems that DSW is actually not saying much new (in a semantic sense) about them, except to declare them to be OWL classes, and to assert them as disjoint from each other (or equivalent in one case). DSW then adds a variety of object (and some data) properties, which distinguish themselves from those in DwC by declaring domain and range axioms for them. But that doesn't say anything about the classes either, nor does it, I would argue, about the properties - domain and range constraint really only say something about the instances for which one asserts those properties.
> So by itself the DSW won't allow me to infer anything about the classes and properties in the ontology (aside from disjointness), though it will allow me to make more inferences about instance data to which it is applied than DwC would. And those additional inferences would consist only of the instances' class memberships (and their non-memberships).
> I'm wondering a) whether I'm missing something here and am in error, and if not, b) whether the above was indeed the extent of what you wanted to achieve with DSW. Either way, what are your current plans with the ontology? It doesn't seem to have changed for a while.
> (And please forgive me if this isn't the right list to post to - I couldn't find a DSW-specific one on the Google code homepage.)
> Cheers,
>        -hilmar
> --
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Robert A. Morris

Emeritus Professor  of Computer Science
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125-3390

IT Staff
Filtered Push Project
Harvard University Herbaria
Harvard University

email: morris.bob at gmail.com
web: http://efg.cs.umb.edu/
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