[sc34wg3] Representation versus Reification

Lars Marius Garshol sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Mon, 23 Aug 2004 12:30:07 +0200

* Patrick Durusau
| Actually I think your use of the term "represent" illustrates what
| is at its core a difference in views of how to implement topic maps,
| each of which has advantages and disadvantages.

Actually, you are wrong.
| From discussions at the meeting in Montreal, I have the distinct
| impression (subject to correction by any Ontopians) that the Ontopia
| strategy is one of data conversion (pre-topic map) that assigns PSIs
| to subjects that will be represented in a topic map instance. Since
| data conversion is never a clean process, the results are examined
| and new rules made to refine the assignment of PSIs. But ultimately,
| the merging process for topics is based upon a matching of the PSIs
| so assigned.

What you are describing is one approach to using the autogen toolkit
we sometimes use for data conversions. This is very far from being an
Ontopia strategy, and certainly not *the* Ontopia strategy. In fact,
the latest course on the use of the autogen toolkit teaches an
approach that does *not* involve automated generation of PSIs at all.
(For reasons that having nothing whatever to do with the contents of
your posting.)

In fact, I would be very happy if you would refrain from further
discussions of this nature. We are discussing which of two terms is
the most appropriate and it is frustrating beyond words to find this
(for the n-th time) turned into a bizarre and counterfactual
discussion of the Ontopia business model and technical approach.

Could you please just STOP inventing ideas about how Ontopia operates
and speaking of as though it were something other than pure fiction?
Can we for once have a discussion where we discuss issues based on
reasoned argument rather than the misconceptions committee members
hold about the employers of other committee members?

| If that is correct, 

It is not.

| then yes, I think it is fair to say that PSI's "represent" the
| subject, 

Do you mean the indicator or the identifier? If the identifier, it
identifies the subject, which is something else. If the indicator, it
indicates the subject by means of prose.

In neither case are we discussing something relevant to this debate.
It is the TOPIC which represents the subject, not the published
subject identifier, nor the published subject indicator.
| A subject proxy 'reifies' a subject by standing in its place and
| by virtue of that 'reification,' it has all the properties therefore
| (both identity and other properties) of the subject itself.

And I think the word "represents" is a better term to describe this.
That's it, really. There is no more to it. We can argue which is the
better term, and that's what we were trying to do.

| To me (no surprise), the choices come down to:
| 1.  Having subject proxies which stand in the place of subjects and
|     have all the properties of the subjects they reify (to the extent
|     those properties are represented in the topic map), or
| 2. Having representatives of subjects that offer an opaque string for
|     comparison of those representatives.
| The first includes the second, as appropriate. The second precludes
| the first.

You're beating up a strawman, Patrick. This choice doesn't exist, and
as far as I know nobody is speaking for 2 or anything that bears
anything like any kind of semblance to it.

I'll get back to the real debate as soon as time allows.

Lars Marius Garshol, Ontopian         <URL: http://www.ontopia.net >
GSM: +47 98 21 55 50                  <URL: http://www.garshol.priv.no >