Ontolog Forum

Ontolog Mini-Series: Database and Ontology - Kick-off Panel Session - Thu 12-Oct-2006

  • Topic: "Ontolog Mini-Series: Database and Ontology - Kick-off Panel Session"

Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, October 12, 2006
  • Start Time: 17:30 UTC / 6:30pm BST / 1:30pm EDT / 10:30am PDT (see world clock for other time zones)
    • Duration: 2.0 hours
  • Dial-in Number: +1-641-696-6600 (Iowa, USA)
    • Participant Access Code: "686564#"
  • Shared-screen support (VNC session) will be started 5 minutes before the call at:
    • view-only password: "ontolog"
    • if you plan to be logging into this shared-screen option (which the speaker may be navigating), and you are not familiar with the process, please try to call in 5 minutes before the start of the session so that we can work out the connection logistics. Help on this will generally not be available once the presentation starts.
    • people behind corporate firewalls may have difficulty accessing this. If that is the case, please download the slides below and runing them locally. The speaker will prompt you to advance the slides during the talk.
  • RSVP to appreciated, to allow us to prepare enough conferencing resources.
  • Please note that this session will be recorded, and the audio archive is expected to be made available as open content to our community membership and the public at-large under our prevailing open IPR policy.


  • Also Expected (and probably joined after our roll call):
    • Raj Manickam ()
    • BenjaminDeVore
    • James Werner
    • Kathryn Breininger (Emerging Technologies, Boeing Library Services, The Boeing Company)
    • Ali Bahrami (Boeing Phantom Works, The Boeing Company)
    • Ken Laskey
    • RoyRoebuck
    • Susie Stephens
    • Adrian Walker
    • Chrysanthie Chamis (Boeing Phantom Works, Huntington Beach, CA, The Boeing Company)
    • ...(to register for participation, please add your name here or e-mail <> so that we can reserve enough resources to support the session.)...


This is the first event of a mini-series of talks and discussions the revolve around the topic: "Database and Ontology" during which this community will explore the landscape, issues and interactions between databases and ontologies.

This is a community-driven set of activities, and is probably long overdue. On 15-Aug-2006, Tatiana Malyuta (who just joined the community after participating at our 23-Jul-2006 face-to-face workshop at Stanford, brought up her request for the Ontolog to delve into the subject of "Database and Ontologiy." An almost unprecedented flurry of online responses were received from the community. It was decided that we could systematically pursue the subject by mounting a mini-series on the matter at hand.

A planning meeting for this mini-series took place on 31-Aug-2006. Matthew West was invited to champion the effort, and a "Program & Technical Advisory Team" was form, comprising of Matthew West (Lead), Adrian Walker, Atilla Elci, Chris Partridge, Leo Obrst, Peter P. Yim, Susie Stephens & TatianaMalyuta.

See also: DatabaseAndOntology (the 'project' homepage for this mini-series)

Agenda & Proceedings

Topic: Database and Ontology - Mini-series Kick-off Panel Session

  • Abstract (by MatthewWest):
Broadly ontologies describe what exists. Databases hold facts

about what exists. It is therefore not surprising that ontology can help in the design of databases by having the design match reality more closely.

On the other hand ontologies are things about which we wish to

hold information, and databases are powerful ways to store information so that it can be retrieved by many people, especially when there is structure to the information.

Different databases will have their own, sometimes implicit,

ontologies. Identifying and mapping between these ontologies is key to data integration.

Finally, databases, whether for ontology tools or other

applications, need to have a human interface. The use of ontology in design and implementation of the human computer interface can transform the utility of a system.

This mini-series will explore these interactions, how

ontologies and databases are mutually supportive, and identify the main issues people in these fields are grappling with.

  • Pertinent Issues we might explore during this (and subsequent) session(s):
    • 1. How does ontology improve database design?
    • 2. What is there beyond ontology in database design?
    • 3. How do you design a database to manage an ontology?
    • 4. What are the limitations of databases in supporting ontologies?
    • 5. How do you discover the ontology implicit in a database?
    • 6. How do you map between ontologies?
    • 7. How does ontology help with the design and implementation of human computer interfaces?
    • 8. What are the key challenges in developing human computer interfaces using ontologies?
  • Session Format: this is be a virtual session conducted over an augmented conference call
    • 1. we'll go around with a self-introduction of participants (10~15 minutes) - we'll skip this if we have moe than 20 participants (in which case, it will be best if members try to update their namesake pages on this wiki prior to the call so that everyone can get to know who's who more easily.)
    • 2. Introduction of Panelists (Moderator)
    • 3. Opening by the Moderator (5 min.)
    • 4. 15~20-minute brief by each panelist on their perspective
    • 5. open general discussion by all participants (30~45 minutes)
    • 6. Summary / Conclusion / Follow-up (Moderator)
  • Moderator and Panelists' presentation title, slides and and abstract: (Slides can be accessed by pointing your web browsers to the respective "slide" links below) ... (note that slides will be available by the time of the session)
    • MatthewWest (Program Lead) - Opening - Slides
    • TatianaMalyuta - Improving Database utilization with Ontology - Dr. Tatiana Malyuta's slides
      • Abstract: Databases do not provide open and explicit descriptions of data

semantics. This prevents efficient, qualitative, and automated data utilization. Ontology, as an open and standard semantics provider, can help in resolving the problems of data utilization. Issues of building a productive relationship between Ontology and Database are discussed.

    • LeoObrst - Ontologies & Databases: Similarities & Differences - Dr. Leo Obrst's slides
      • Abstract: Ontologies and databases have much in common, but there are many differences too. Databases focus on local semantics that have only aspects of the real world, typically keep that semantics implicit, use logic structurally, and their schemas are not generally reusable. Ontologies focus on global semantics of the real world, make that semantics explicit and machine interpretable by using a logic-based modeling language, and are reusable as true models of a portion of the world.
    • MatthewWest - Ontology in Database Design - Dr. Matthew West's slides
      • Abstract: Databases hold information. The information is about things. What

things there are is at the heart of ontology. Some key concerns of database design, and how ontology can help are presented.

Questions, Answers & Discourse

  • If you want to speak or have questions for the panel, we appreciate your posting them as instructed below: (please identify yourself)
    • experimental: try using the queue management chat tool
    • point a separate browser window (or tab) to and enter: Room: "ontolog_20061012" & My Name: e.g. "JaneDoe"
    • or point your browser to:
      • instructions: once you got access to the page, click on the "settings" button, and identify yourself (by modifying the Name field). You can indicate that you want to ask a question verbally by clicking on the "hand" button, and wait for the moderator to call on you; or, type and send your question into the chat window at the bottom of the screen.
    • For those who have further questions or remarks on the topic, please post them to the [ontolog-forum] so that everyone in the community can benefit from the discourse.
  • ... More Questions & Input from the participants via the [] chat session:
    • comment from Peter Brown: "This debate reminds me very much of the ongoing debate around "interoperability" versus "standards" - "exposing" versus "imposing". Matthew seems to suggest that at the root of the modelling problem is the lack of use of or conformity to existing standards. Is there then a case for "imposing" certain standards for ontology and dB design in such a way that they can be more efficiently "exposed" for the purposes of interoperability and domain knowledge sharing? Is there a value in pump-priming dB design tools with, for example, terms from SUMO?"
    • Antoinette Arsic: can you suggest OWL reasoners or inference engines
      • Leo Obrst: start with Jena ... also, program it with the use of Prolog
      • Doug Holmes: Some OWL Reasoners: FAcT, Racer, KAON2, Pellet; Some Rule Engines: JESS, DROOLS, RacerPro ....
    • Francis Hsu: what is the difference between a search engine and an inference engine
      • Matthew West: try - a search engine is mainly driven by statistics, and an inference engine is driven by semantics
  • Session ended 2006.10.12 12:33 pm PDT

Session Recording of this Panel Session

(Thanks to Bob Smith and Peter P. Yim for their help with getting the session recorded. =ppy)

  • To download the audio recording of the session, click here
    • the playback of the audio files require the proper setup, and an MP3 compatible player on your computer.
  • Conference Date and Time: Oct. 12, 2006 10:36am~12:33pm Pacific Daylight Time
  • Duration of Recording: 1 Hour 27 Minutes
  • Recording File Size: 10.2 MB (in mp3 format)
  • Telephone Playback Expiration Date: Oct. 22, 2006 12:11 PM PDT
    • Prior to the above Expiration Date, one can call-in and hear the telephone playback of the session.
    • Playback Dial-in Number: 1-805-620-4002 (Ventura, CA)
    • Playback Access Code: 216919#
    • suggestions:
      • its best that you listen to the session while having the respective presentation opened in front of you. You'll be prompted to advance slides by the speaker.
    • Unfortunately, the recording quality was less than ideal -- we had some echoes throughout, especially at the opening; also, the last 20 minutes or so of the discussion did not get recorded. The recording is definitely intelligible, though. Anyhow, considering the fact that we had 20~30 people from all over the US, and from the UK, Austria, Turkey and India (with quite a few of you connecting through VoIP), it's already a small wonderful that we could have had the virtual session and was able to capture most of it into the audio archive!