Re: CG: Re: A simplistic definition of "ontology"

Don Dwiggins (dwig@plumb27.Stanford.EDU)
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 12:59:07 -0700 (PDT)

John F Sowa writes:
> I don't believe that you can develop ontologies in isolation from major
> applications. But at the same time, I don't think that you can develop
> good ontologies just by grubbing away at the low levels of the hierarchy.
> There has to be constant interaction between the high-level theory and the
> low-level empirical data mining. It is an iterative process that has to
> be approached top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out with continual
> interaction and adjustments at all levels.

In this regard, it might be worth looking at Martin Fowler's work, as
published in his book "Analysis Patterns" and continued on his home page
(sorry, I don't have the URL handy). He uses a variant of the design
pattern approach along with one of the object-oriented graphical notations
to describe a number of business concepts. One of his principles is to
explicitly separate descriptions into an object level and what he calls "the
knowledge level". Of course, much of the value of the patterns is in the
informal discussions of context, alternatives, scope of applicability, etc.
The patterns he presents are distillations of a number of practical
applications in several business areas (hospital administration is the most
frequent source of examples). I'd be interested to hear someone contrast
his approach with the more formal approaches used in this community.

Don Dwiggins "Solvitur Ambulando"
SEI Information Technology