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

Roger Hyam roger at tdwg.org
Thu Feb 23 15:09:17 CET 2006

Hi Renato,

Thanks for that contribution. I have had CIDOC on my list since the St 
Petersburg meeting last year. We definitely need to address how we make 
use of it or integrate with it. My worry is looking for implementations 
that use it. I am not aware of organisations sharing data on the basis 
of schemas derived from the CIDOC model - this is worrying as the 
ontology has been under development for 10 years - it may also be that I 
am ignorant.

Does anyone on the list have practical experience of using CIDOC?



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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