Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Folk Ontology

Meant to mention in the last post, re web 2.0 and tagging, that the tagging process seems to be creating "folk ontologies", similar to folk psychology, folk physics, etc. It seems to me that there are three levels here:
  1. Formal ontology creation using OWL/RDF by a domain expert -- this is how Sir Tim's Semantic Web is supposed to be built.
  2. Structured organization of knowledge by semi-pro experts, as in Wikipedia.
  3. Tag heirarchies created by everyone and their brother, as in del.icio.us.
I had the thought recently that you should be able to generate in an automated manner, the top level, formal OWL/RDF ontologies, from the lowest level, tag heirarchies. It seemed intuitively obvious to me that this was doable -- but I started to think about how and went, hmmm ...
  • Do you have to have some seed ontologies to start with?
  • Ontologies are primarily IsA (UML Generalization) and HasA (UML Composition) networks -- surely those can be generated from the tags?
Hey hey, I may have found my open source retirement project -- if no one has done this in the next 10 years -- pretty unlikely.

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