Knowledge Representation workshop @ CCH

A couple of months ago or so we started a Knowledge Representation workshop with a few enthusiastic colleagues at CCH. The basic idea is to take a broad perspective on the various topics related to KR, and then focus on the digital humanities so to see how these approaches and technologies can be best applied to our domain.

What is a knowledge representation? Although knowledge representation is one of the central and in some ways most familiar concepts in AI, the most fundamental question about it–What is it?–has rarely been answered directly. Numerous papers have lobbied for one or another variety of representation, other papers have argued for various properties a representation should have, while still others have focused on properties that are important to the notion of representation in general. [continue reading]

Other than that, the scope of the workshop will remain deliberately unspecified so that we are allowed to decide session after session what topics should be discussed. I’ll be posting the slides and research produced in the context of the workshop on this blog, so maybe also others will be interested in taking part in this (either physically or electronically!). if you do, please get in touch 🙂

The slides from our first meeting can be found online on slideshare:

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Among the TOPICS that emerged as needing more reflection:

  • the ontoclean methodology: need more examples and rationale for each of the meta-principles
  • top level ontologies: is it sensible to aim for having only one? If not, what does a ‘relativist’ position entail?
  • the cyc project: why didn’t it conquer the world? where were its flaws?
  • ontologizing ‘humanities’ data: is the subject domain posing specific challenges, or not?
  • implementing an ontology: what are the languages/frameworks available? (we mentioned the possibility of inviting an external speaker on this topic, some time in the future)
  • Finally, some useful bibliography:

  • Doug. Ontologies: State of the Art, Business Potential, and Grand Challenges. Ontology Management: Semantic Web, Semantic Web Services, and Business Applications (2007) pp. 1-20
  • Sowa. Knowledge Representation: Logical, Philosophical and Computational Foundations. Course Technology (1999)
  • Niles and Pease. Towards a Standard Upper Ontology. FOIS’01 (2001)
  • Doerr. The CIDOC conceptual reference module: an ontological approach to semantic interoperability of metadata. AI Magazine archive (2003) vol. 24 (3) pp. 75-92
  • Gangemi et al. Sweetening Ontologies with DOLCE. 13th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management (EKAW02) (2002)
  • Smith,. Beyond Concepts: Ontology as Reality Representation . Proceedings of FOIS 2004. International Conference on Formal Ontology and Information Systems (2004)
  • Guha and Lenat. Cyc: A Midterm Report. AI Magazine (1990) pp. 1-28
  • Gruber. It Is What It Does: The Pragmatics of Ontology. Invited presentation to the meeting of the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model committee (2003)
  • Doerr. The CIDOC conceptual reference module: an ontological approach to semantic interoperability of metadata. AI Magazine archive (2003) vol. 24 (3) pp. 75-92
  • Guarino and Welty. Evaluating ontological decisions with OntoClean. Commun. ACM (2002) vol. 45 (2) pp. 61-65
  • Stay tuned for the future reports!

    3 thoughts on “Knowledge Representation workshop @ CCH

    1. One of my hopes for the KR seminars is an entirely practical one, which is for us to settle on/develop an ontology for representing some of the domains many of our projects deal with. For example, prosopography and manuscript/textual traditions both have a slew of complex relationships between various types of entity that can usefully be codified and used as the basis for generating different outputs for users.

      Obviously such ontologies will not ever be considered as complete and fully satisfactory by an academic community, but a well-designed ontology will be easily extensible for specific projects while providing enough that is suitable for all projects on which useful work can be done.

      1. yeah Jamie I completely agree with you. Having some sort of semantic infrastructure that connect all of (or most of) out projects would definitely put CCH at the forefront of DH research, under this point of view. Let’s go find funding for it 🙂

        1. I think we already have a decent start, at least in the area of prosopography, in the amount of experience at CCH in developing projects that have some form of prosopographical model. Those models, or the experience from developing those models, should make a decent basis for one part of this semantic infrastructure.

          I think also developing a technical infrastructure that makes including a Semantic Web/Linked Data/whatever component in new projects trivial (from a technical standpoint) is necessary – it might be too hard otherwise to convince project partners and/or project managers to invest in the effort. Hopefully something along these lines will come to xMod at some point…

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