Friday, 4 May 2012

Vocabulary or Ontology ?

I was wondering what the difference between an ontology, thesuari and a vocabulary within the parameters of LOD might be:

A vocabulary is a set of terms (words, codes, etc.) that are used in a specific community. Vocabularies provide a mechanism for communication- be it written, oral or electronic- because the meaning of the terms are known and agreed upon by the community members.

 An ontology is a representation of knowledge, generally of a particular domain, written with a standardized, structured syntax that describes the relationship between concepts, also called resources, that serve to characterize the domain.

Thesauri are similar to ontologies in that they can describe hierarchical and associative relationships between terms. However, they are generally used to facilitate indexing and retrieval of written and recorded items. (source)

Which got me thinking whilst I was in the pub waiting for a friend:

Might be interesting to build an app which just displayed the 'description data' for different concepts and ideas, for example public art, community art etc. This ties in with the idea of publishing the outcome of my PHD, the speculations, as LOD data, via a carefully crafted ontology.

Overall i may also be an idea to published an ontology that lists all the modifications to a particular term, for example community art, each update would be listed and would feature a disjoint with the previous version. So Kwon's  definition would relate to previous definitions, other classes  would also be defined such as collaborator, participant, public. Each would feature a revision history. There might also be a description of methods and properties.

This process of building an vocabulary has also presented the idea of producing a vocabulary for single concepts, for example 'happiness' 'ecstasy' 'epiphany' and listing existing and invited descriptions. It would be easy to build these using something like protege and using ontology search engines such as Swoggle.

Which leads onto the thought of data modelling as a kind of creative practice. And the possibility that data modelling should not conform to some inherent 'logic' rather that it might not be constrained in this way, and the production of vocabularies and ontologies might allow some other  subjectivities to come to influence production. In this way the passage from data to information and onto knowledge maybe rendered across a range of forms, rather than just that indicated by formal data models, for data modeling is if nothing else, spatial; i fact I cannot believe there have not been examples of artists and theorists design ontologies and vocabularies, perhaps there are and i haven't found them.

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