Ben Hyde has a nice thing to say about committee-developed ontologies versus massively volunteer-developed folksonomies.
Folksonomies is a pretty new term for stuff like del.icio.us, where everybody can tag all sorts of information with tags of their own devising. Yeah, that's chaos - but pretty chaos. I watch what people add to the tag startup and despite the occasional page about starting MS windows, I've gleaned a couple of useful pages for starting up a company from there.
Chaos! Nobody in control! This can't be right!
Ben is right: Folksonomies - nobody in control? What! that's silly, the site designers are in control. If the ontologists wish to remain in control they had best start building sites, and fast.
I'm working in the building and construction industry: there are a couple of committee-based ontology efforts there. Any extra project won't add anything major. So: add a folksonomy-like project! Let the committee try to keep up with the unwashed masses. (Or laugh at the stinking pool of utter chaos in which the masses slowly drown themselves :-) Note: the bcoWeb building-construction ontology we've started at Delft University of Technology is intended for the unwashed masses.
I've attached part of chapter four of my upcoming PhD thesis ("New instruments for dynamic Building-Construction"). The part about "lightweight development" is the most relevant here. Development and open source
The key question then seems to be: how to develop a standard that is semantically rich, can be useful and even commercial attractive within a short period of time (less than one year) and allows the owners of the information and knowledge to keep control and ownership.
The suggestion put forward in this research is fourfold. The cost for use should be minimal; there should be as much application support as possible; development should be lightweight; the development should be supply/demand-oriented.
Concluding, the proposal is for an open source web-based object library as a very interesting new effort at creating a useful basis for web-based communication in the Building-Construction.
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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