Maintaining Ontology Implementations: The Value of Listening mid Aug 2004

Paper by Duane Degler to Extreme Markup 2004
While the main technical focus of the Semantic Web initiative is to enable machine interpretation of self-describing information and services, its goal is to serve human needs, not the needs of machines.
Information delivery systems should behave as if they know what’s relevant to their users. Maintaining this illusion is challenging, more so because the world views of information providers and information users (and the ontologies that reflect those world views) are subject to change and heavily dependent on context. Systems and information resources cannot be made self-adapting merely by providing them with more and more metadata. Indeed, since there is an unbounded number of ways that everything can be related to all other things, it is easy to see how metadata can actually create more confusion, rather than improve the computer’s capability to assist the user. It’s important for information providers and delivery systems to detect and respond appropriately, while adapting to the changing needs of their users – be it personal or globally driven change. We focus on maintenance design challenges and on approaches to gathering information about the changing contexts of users so that ontologies can be maintained in useful, current condition.

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