The List – Topics To Be Covered

Whilst looking at ontologies, data and how to make data a ‘code-able’ thing, I jumped in and started by reading a book on provenance (more on that later). Reading it was more of a challenge than I had originally anticipated (provenance? how hard can it be?) and it highlighted a list of things that I will also need to learn in order to make use of any of technologies or concepts I’m interested in learning and applying.

Here’s a list of topics that I’m starting with and I’ll keep this updated as I go.

  • The Semantic Web – cited in this paper here by authors that include Tim Berners-Lee. It’s the idea that data creates a ‘web of knowledge’ and it is the thing that I’m trying to learn how to ‘do’.
  • Ontology – tellingly there are two entries for ontology in wikipedia: this one for the nature of being, as in philosophy and this one for ontologies for information science. While I would like to spend my time looking into both, I’ll concentrate more on the latter here.
  • OWL or Web Ontology Language (more on the misleading acronym later) is how ontologies are expressed.
  • RDF or Resource Distribution Framework and defined here is the W3C recommendation for semantic web data models. The Schema definition for RDF is called RDFS and is defined here.
  • I’ll need to refer to our old friends XML and XSDs here too. I haven’t done a lot of defining or designing in XML but it seems handy to use for some of the enumerated data formats. There might need to be some HTML and XHTML that needs to be referenced but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
  • SKOS is a new and interesting thing I’ve come across. It’s used as a format for the FIBO vocabulary. I’ll see if it’s just for FIBO or if there are other vocabularies that use it.
  • Things like SPARQL will also be important and I haven’t tried working with it yet.

Tools, software, etc:

  • Ontology tools: Protege, TopBraid
  • Data storage technologies which make a long list to be explored later
  • Data science-y things like R and Python
  • Wolfram Alpha Mathematica looks interesting
  • SQL PowerArchitect looks like it could be a useful data modelling tool

and possibly many others…

The Basics – Principles and Guidelines

Before I got too far into posting things and writing things, I wanted to lay out the boundaries and parameters under which things would appear on this blog. I didn’t want to assume that we were all thinking the same things (of course that’s what you where thinking!). There are principles and guidelines I wanted to follow when posting and writing, and I wanted to those to be very clear to any reader. A list of assumptions or parameters written down is always good when starting any type of experiment.

Some points to remember when reading the posts under ‘The Basics’:

  1. The definitions of ‘The Basics’ are meant in the context of this site. I could have just redirected you to wikipedia or wherever but I defined things here so I can include an interpretation as well as how things link to other things (the context of which may not be relevant for wikipedia and/or others).
  2. Sometimes definitions and examples are both art and science. As you know with data models or any other types of design, there are many ways to develop something to achieve the same end result. Anything I design or define here is the way of doing it that worked for me. I welcome other ideas as someone else may have seen something that I did not see and therefore come up with a better process or result.
  3. Open source is the preferred option. We all know why so let’s just not be proprietary about it, OK?
  4. I reserve the right to change my mind about assumptions and opinions. Facts will remain facts (preferably with citations, wikipedia-style). Let’s try and keep it scientific method here people.
  5. Share and share alike, credit where credit is due. I will be open about where I found something, who I heard something from and what are thoughts I believe to be my own. I will also update posts when I find that I haven’t given proper credit because that’s how things should be.

All appropriate caveats and exemptions apply, so let’s get on with it.

Standard form of contract 🙂