The purpose of this blog is to record your comments, views on discussion etc. during the talks and round table discussions throughout the two-day meeting of the Ontogenesis Network.

In order to publish a blog you will need be logged in - your registration details should have been emailed to you prior to the meeting. If not, contact George. Then you can either post a new message or simply comment on one of the existing blogs.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Making order out of chaos - an exhibition at Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum is now having a special exhibition on classification of our earth - 'A place for everything - Making order out of chaos'. The exhibition itself is not magnificent, but its meaning and some information is very relevant to current ontology work.

For example, the traditional scientific classification system (invented by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus) uses Latin and classical Greek to name the world because they are not spoken languages. As such, common names and scientific names are not to be confused. But interestingly, modern ontology and semantic web technologies aim to combine and link both common names (fuzzy terms) and scientific names (terminologies, jargon).

The classification done by Linnaeus and others embedded a strong European men's world view, and excluded many unknown or unusual spices. Jorge Luis Borges (Argentinian, 1899-1986) criticised this in "The Analytical Language of John Wilkins". The world he depicted is infinite, like 'the garden of forking paths', and always includes 'others'. This reminds me of the diversity and heterogeneity in ontology building. We need a critical view on the whole process of classification, and the (knowledge) power relationship in this process.

A Place for Everything : Making order out of chaos

5 May to 31 October 2007

How do people classify the world? Who named the animals and plants we see around us?

Western museums developed from private 'cabinets of curiosities' during the 18th century. As vast quantities of material flooded into Europe from colonies and empires it became increasingly important to know how to sort it into some kind of order. How could people make sense of it all?

In the natural sciences, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus devised a system of naming that still shapes science today. It gave each species a unique scientific name. This year is the 300th anniversary of Linnaeus's birth. To mark this occasion, The Manchester Museum is holding a programme of exhibitions and events for all ages, examining the purpose of names and categories.We'll be looking at alternative schemes of classification that reflect the diversity of the world and the importance of language.

You will find a number of new exhibits exploring classification and naming located throughout much of the Museum. These include an original copy of Linnaeus's ground-breaking book, the Systema Naturae, published in 1758 and the return of the amazing Giant Spider Crab.

Temporary Names - Nomenclatio transitorius
Artist Fred Langford Edwards will be exhibiting new work funded by the Arts Council, based on his photographs of the Museum's natural history collection. His dramatic photographic artwork, entitled Systema Naturae, after Linnaeus's book, will also be shown throughout the period in the Museum reception.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Protege Demo

University of Manchester

How Pedantic do you need to be to talk to a pedant?

Uli Sattler, University of Manchester

Gardens of Meaning - the development and evolution of vocabularies for indexing and retrieval

Alistair Mills, CCLRC

Knowledge elicitation: going low-tech

Susanna Sansone, EBI

Abraxas: Bridging the Gap between Text and Knowledge

Christopher Brewster, University of Sheffield

Towards the formalization of representation units: term collection, naming convention and metadata annotation

Daniel Schober, EBI

Getting the gist out of the biologist

Andrew Gibson, University of Manchester

The Sociology of Ontologies in Neuroscience

Phil Lord, University of Newcastle

Studies of Work: is Ontology Building Cooperative Work?

Dave Randall, MMU