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Still more ontology definitions

Regular readers of this blog will notice an ongoing series of definitions of the term "ontology". Here is another one, by Tom Gruber, dating from 2009 (in the Encyclopedia of Database Systems, Springer-Verlag, 2009).

an ontology defines a set of representational primitives with which to model a domain of knowledge or discourse

The definition may be perfect, but as a description of a concept in terms that an untrained reader might understand, it scores about zero.

Digital humanities: the real revolution

Glancing vaguely at a mildly interesting book on the shelf: 50 literature ideas you really need to know, by John Sutherland, I started to think about what has changed in the last 30 years or so of studying literature. Judging by Sutherland's book, terms like "epic", "irony", "lyric" are still around, as they were years ago, but what has changed as a result of digital texts? The only reference to digital publishing in Sutherland's book (published 2010) is "The e-Book".

Product owners: the new face of digital publishing

A seminar at the London Book Fair (April 15th 2013) asked the question: how will publishing interact with technology in the future? Stephen Devlin, CTO of Macmillan, had the fascinating answer: via product owners. The product owner, is the person in the organisation who defines the demand for digital systems, and, intriguingly, is not only not a technical person, and would not be based in the technical area, but at the same time not an editor. Why not? Because editors can never finish things, can never let go (I hasten to add that this was Mr Devlin speaking, not me!).

More ontology definitions

Dean Allemang, co-author of the well-reviewed (and readable) Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist gave a very simple definition of "ontology" in a December 2012 presentation as a:

Sharable, modular piece of metadata, where "sharable" means referenceable from other places, "modular" means self-contained.

That reads pretty clearly to me, even if it refers to a single item within an ontology rather than the ontology as a whole.