The Role of Space and Time For Knowledge Organization on the Semantic Web
Review by Christoph Schlieder:
This well-written position statement argues that the spatial and temporal context of conceptualizations induces semantic heterogeneity which should be considered a feature rather than a bug. A number of interesting issues are raised:
(1) The author calls for a shift in perspective from resolving semantic heterogeneities towards acknowledging the importance of local conceptualizations.
Convincing examples are provided showing how and why local conceptualizations emerge. The different conceptualizations of potholes in Britain are especially intriguing. I wonder, however, whether there is not a common core to these concepts that might be formalized: "A pothole is a crack in a road that the local council is bound to repair because of its size."
It seems that there is a need for both, local and global semantics, or, in terms of the examples given, for potholes as for anemometers. The attitudes of cultivating heterogeneities and eliminating them are rather opposed, though. Do you see any way that the two attitudes could coexist?
(2) The context of ontological statements should no longer be neglected: the Web's triple A becomes a quintuple, AAA at Any time and Anywhere.
In the study of natural languages, syntax and semantics are supplemented by pragmatics which studies in what way the context of an utterance contributes to its meaning. Is the literature on pragmatics relevant to the case made in the article?
(3) It is argued that embodiment provides a key to the problem of modeling context. The author advances the idea of grounding the Semantic Web in the Sensor Web.
While perceptual grounding is certainly relevant and supported by research results from cognitive semantics, there is also a social aspect of semantics. Meaning can be the matter of negotiations between members of a community in which they seek for the clarification of ambiguities. Is there a place for negotiated semantics in your picture of the future Semantic Web?
p.5 believes -> beliefs