Automating the Creation of Ontologies from the Bottom Up

In an interesting entry on the Semantic Web, a fellow blogger writes:

However, the Semantic Web, which is still in a development phase where researchers are trying to define the best and most usable design models, would require the participation of thousands of knowledgeable people over time to produce those domain-specific ontologies necessary for its functioning.

I’ve italicized part of this quote, as it requires comment.

This is a common perception – i.e., that people need to be directly involved in the manual creation of formal ontologies.

Frankly, this simply isn’t the case.

Vehicles such as GRDDL are already available and designed to automate the creation of informal ontologies from the bottom up. More specifically, GRDDL facilitates the extraction of RDF from XML.

I’ve spelled all of this out via a scientific example elsewhere.

Fortunately, you don’t need to take my word on this – you can go to the source: a Tim Berners-Lee keynote at a recent BioTech event.

4 thoughts on “Automating the Creation of Ontologies from the Bottom Up

  1. I didn’t say people create formal ontologies. I said people are responsible for the technical process that creates ontologies.

    You still need people and a lot of them with domain specific knowledge to boil down narrative human knowledge to ontologies, using whatever tools, including automation. But you still need people to transform human knowledge into ontologies.


  2. “thousands of knowledgeable people over time to produce those domain-specific ontologies”

    Did not imply “manual” production


    Please clarify further if there is vaguness


  3. I guess this may make my statements clearer:

    Formal ontologies that I was speaking of are defined as being computationally complete (all well-formed statements/conclusions can be proven true or false/i.e. computed) and decidable (all deductions can happen in finite time).

    The word “produce” does not imply manual production.

    So to produce formal ontologies for all human knowledge that is in the current Wikipedia format I believe you need thousands of people and a few years, and this does not imply people do the work entirely manually.


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