Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ontologies and folksonomies

I'm concluding a special topic course for my computing degree, in which I submitted a paper contrasting ontologies with folksonomies and their relative merits in building knowledge representation. In particular I suggested that user interfaces such as those designed for digital libraries and other repository access might benefit more from collaborative folksonomies.

A interesting example of this approach is being trialled at the Bibsonomy web site where instead of the system spending expensive processing power attempting to generate the best semantic ontology for collaborators to employ, users define the site semantics as the site grows, and language restrictions are reduced through the opportunity to use made-up words or conjoint words etc. They have used a highly structured model for the tags that maps nicely to relational database tables.

This article "Collaboration: a case for ontological commitment" describes some basic approaches used in group settings that I believe are a bit inadequate. It seems the author is generally discussing projects or activities which require time extended participation. She also states that she is not discussing semantic ontology per se, but isn't that what is suggested be developed, or have I missed the point?

By using tools like Bibisonomy, the use of folksonomies provide an opportunity for group semantics to emerge during online project/group exercise life cycles rather than needing to be explicitly established beforehand.

The following two references I found extremely relevant. I have included links which are current to the best of my knowledge.

Hotho, A., Jaschke, R., Schmitz, C., and Stumme, G. (2006), BibSonomy: A social bookmark and publication sharing system, In de Moor, A., Polovina, S., Delugach, H. ed, Proceedings of the first Conceptual Structures Tool Interoperability Workshop of the 14th International Conference on Conceptual Structures, pp 87-102, Aalborg University, Denmark from the publication home or the Bibsonomy website.

Longva, T. (2004), Sharing knowledge using rich representations, Retrieved on 19 June 2007 from here

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