Re: #ontology Can we come up with a better term than "Flow Object"? #ontology

Matteo Lissandrini (AAU)

Hi all,
like John Snow, I know nothing.

From an outsider perspective the current definition is extremely clear, as it related the Flow and the Object of the Flow (aka Flow Object).

While all other proposal are much more confusing (Flow and Exchange are two dynamic terms)

The only other words I can thing of would be Phenomenon for the Flow and Noumenon for the Flow Object, but I guess bothering  Kant is not a great idea :)

I suggest somebody creates a BEP then :)


From: [] on behalf of Rutger Schurgers via Groups.Io [schurgers@...]
Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2019 11:57 AM
Subject: Re: [bonsai] #ontology Can we come up with a better term than "Flow Object"?

Hi group,


Exchange is actually what’s being used in the ecospold2 and ILCD data formats as well. They have flows as well, though they include compartment too. In the SimaPro platform, we don’t include compartments so that matches what we have in Bonsai. To keep things consistent, I’d support using these terms. We don’t use the term exchange in the platform, but I’m considering adopting it as well. The different terms we’re using now cause a lot of confusion and time lost.






From: [] On Behalf Of Agneta
Sent: 03 April 2019 11:37
Subject: Re: [bonsai] #ontology Can we come up with a better term than "Flow Object"?


So the issue is back!

Well I did raise the point about terms like flow and 'flow object' being confusing and likely that someone new to the ontology might have some difficulty in understanding the differences or even use them interchangeably. I looked up the thesaurus and unfortunately I don't think there is anything that sufficiently translates 'object'/'thing'/'entity'. Some suggested words were- 'element', 'substance, 'item' , 'component'.  

In my humble opinion- I would like to go back to suggestions as defined in previously published LCA ontology (Kuczenski et al. 2016):

Activity- is a “thing that happens”

Flow- is a “thing in the world that exists because of some instance of an Activity."

Exchange- " An exchange is an established relationship between an activity instance and a flow instance." This can be an input/output/ determining.


I think this terminology is coherent with the vocabulary used by most industrial ecologist.

There is another term that I find slightly problematic is 'Balanceable properties' . As this class primarily consists of certain specific quantities, I was wondering if we could refer to it as 'quantity types' or 'quantity attributes' ?

I will also put this discussion as an issue in out GitHub repo. 

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