[Tdwg-tag] Object Model / Ontology Management - how we kick it off.

Roger Hyam roger at tdwg.org
Thu Feb 23 16:23:09 CET 2006

Continuing on from my last message the way the CIDOC modeling good and 
is presented is not unlike the way the DublinCore work is carried out - 
and the DC terms are also specified in RDF using a PURL!


Renato De Giovanni wrote:
> Roger,
> I think I agree with most of your points (also from previous 
> messages).
> Concerning the representation independent object model, I would 
> suggest the same approach taken by CIDOC CRM:
> http://cidoc.ics.forth.gr/docs/cidoc_crm_version_4.2.pdf
> It's not easy to find such clear and well documented modelling work. 
> Although at a first glance it could fall into the "ontology-at-the-
> level-of-laws-of-physics" category, I won't make that judgment 
> because CIDOC's scope is definitely broader than ours.
> Anyway, what I'm suggesting is to use the same approach and the same 
> kind of documentation. Using and extending CIDOC is a completely 
> different thing - probably interesting (I think), but something that 
> could even be evaluated and addressed at another stage.
> Regards,
> --
> Renato
> On 22 Feb 2006 at 15:50, Roger Hyam wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> It is generally agreed that we need an representation independent 
>> object model or ontology of some kind. I would like to put together a 
>> list of the things that need to be agreed or investigated in order to 
>> do this.
>> Firstly the things I believe we can all agree on (stop me if I am 
>> wrong).
>> *   It should be representation independent (i.e. we should be able to 
>>     move it between 'languages' UML, OWL, BNF etc). 
>> *   It should be dynamic (i.e. capable of evolving through time). 
>> *   It should be polymorphic. This is a result of it being dynamic. There 
>>     will, at a minimum, be multiple version of any one part of the model 
>>     when new version are introduced.
>> *   It should NOT attempt to be omniscient i.e. it will not cover 
>>     everything in our domain, only the parts that need to be 
>>     communicated.
>> *   It will be managed in a distributed fashion. Different teams will 
>>     take responsibility for different parts of it. 
>> My first Question is:
>> Does the centralization of the ontology need to go beyond a small 
>> shared vocabulary of terms or base classes? 
>> I envisage this ontology containing things like Collection, Specimen, 
>> TaxonConcept, TaxonName but not defining the detailed structure of 
>> these objects. It would contain a maximum of a few 10's of objects 
>> and properties. TDWG subgroups would be responsible for building 
>> ontologies that extend these base objects but that generally didn't 
>> refer to each other - only to the core. If this is true then I think 
>> the definition of the top level object falls within the remit of the 
>> TAG ( in consultation with others). 
>> If this is not a valid way forward what are the alternatives?
>> Are their questions we should ask before this one?
>> Once again I'd be grateful for your thoughts.
>> Roger
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 Roger Hyam
 Technical Architect
 Taxonomic Databases Working Group
 roger at tdwg.org
 +44 1578 722782

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