[tdwg-tag] Part-of in RDF/OWL

Bob Morris morris.bob at gmail.com
Wed Sep 21 23:52:06 CEST 2011

Yes, but...

On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 5:11 PM, Gregor Hagedorn <g.m.hagedorn at gmail.com> wrote:
> We are seeking advice in the context of using semantic mediawiki to
> document terms, at present as an example the taxpub vocabularly, which
> ontology to use to document the following:
> 1. generic part-of relations of concepts.
> Example: the taxpub nomenclature section is part of the taxpub treatment
> We consider using DublinCore for this. We found nothing in SKOS for this.
> 2. part of relations of things
> both petal and sepal are part of the corolla.
> Bob Morris recommends the ro ontology: http://obofoundry.org/ro/
> However, this one says that it is undergoing strong changes in the
> near future.

Well, I don't know what "near" means for their future, but the
discussion of it petered out over 15 months ago. A very brief glance
at that indicates that the initial impetus was mainly to refactor RO,
although the discussion seems to raise other points also.  Hilmar
might be able to through some insight on the matter.
> 3. When documenting legacy xml ontologies, the xml variant requires
> documenting a difference between element and attribute children.
> How to express this in RDF form? ("why would you want do that" -> Bob
> Morris likes to answer that, but in fact we just want to have an
> orthogonal form to simplify things).

Ah, you slightly mis-state my underlying point. I (hope I am) famous
for often saying that questions that begin with "Why would anybody
ever want to") are forbidden to software engineers, and by extension
to ontology engineers. But (when prompted) I always point out that
this is a mantra to guard against two things, depending on the state
of development:

(a) When bleated, sheeplike, by programmers whose code crashed
gracelessly by users who do something unexpected, it almost always
signals that the code contains an implicit, unexamined, assumption
that a certain use case would never appear.
(b) Before development it often signals that insufficient use-case
modelling has not been done. So in this case, I literally mean that
one needs a clear requirement for modelling the syntax of XML in a
semantic modeling language. Phrased that way, I would worry that the
impedance mismatches between a set of XML constraints on a document's
structure and a set of RDF descriptions of the content of the document
might be very high.
> Any help or insight is appreciated.
> Gregor
> --
> ---------------------------------
> Dr. G. Hagedorn
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Robert A. Morris

Emeritus Professor  of Computer Science
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125-3390
IT Staff
Filtered Push Project
Department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University

email: morris.bob at gmail.com
web: http://efg.cs.umb.edu/
web: http://etaxonomy.org/mw/FilteredPush
phone (+1) 857 222 7992 (mobile)

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