Victor wrote some interesting thoughts about ontologies versus controlled vocabularies and thesauri and how library and information science hasn't quite connected with computer science on the issue of extracting meaning from data and building a system of commonly understood lexemes for representing a body of knowledge. So I am looking more at ontologies in order to understand where the two could/should meet. I've wondered how computer science can attain the sort of understanding of abstract concepts that humans do. I'm not talking about discerning objects/things and understanding the relationship of things to each other, but more importantly discerning hard subjects like love and all the various types of love in passages of poetry ('cause isn't love what life is all about?). Seems like artificial intelligence to me. So seems I can't avoid the topic of ontologies any more since Victor threw down the gauntlet.

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Are you curious?

If you have specific questions about ontologies and information architecture, please let me know (victorlombardi@yahoo.com). If there's sufficient interest I'll write paper thingy on the topic.


Thanks, Victor, for offering to share the knowledge. I definitely have ideas about issues/realities of knowledge representation. I for one would love to have more paper thingies to read.

computer scientists from mars, info scientists from venus?

I came upon this comment on a recent article on xml.com (referred to on this blog if I'm not mistaken) that could go a long way to explaining why computer scientists and librarians/information scientists haven't found each other on this topic yet: http://perso.club-internet.fr/jld/billquote.html (as linked to in a comment on http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/05/15/rdfprimer.html).

Seems like academia v. practical usage to me. Trying to create an ontology as part of an assignment, I have been confronted with purely practical questions that are seldom considered when a theory is created. So I guess we (librarians/information scientist/ia) will just have to start challenging the AI world to provide us with the tools that comply with the strictest of ontology requirements but are flexible enough to capture a complex and ever-evolving reality.

By the way, there is quite some literature on ontologies already out there. A quick scan of LISA (if you are lucky enough to have access) provides sufficient food for thought.