Re: #ontology Can we come up with a better term than "Flow Object"? #ontology
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interesting. As part of the discussion you may want to consider also the JSON-LD format names:
In my view, process, flow, exchange is most commonly used (used in “our” JSON-LD format and in ILCD) and it is not too bad (meaning: short, not misleading; it is good to distinguish flows from exchanges). Yes, process, and flow, and also exchange can be a noun and a verb but this is common in English language. So, maybe, in view that there are really lots of things to do in LCA and data availability and LCA ontologies, it is maybe good to stick with this. Or, invent something really different. Point, line, square, e.g., would be different, for flow, exchange, process.
All the best!
Von: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> Im Auftrag von Elias Sebastian Azzi
Reading up that long email thread I wrote a summary of the different views expressed. I also summarise an article that describes another ontology for IE, rather different vocabulary, hoping it will help us see the ontology from a different perspective.
Alpha / Summary
Issue - Human vocabulary for BONSAI's core ontology
While there seems to be an agreement among the participants around the three core classes of the ontology (i.e. on their conceptual meaning), there is not yet a consensus on how these classes should be named in human readable language. There is however an agreement on the fact that the vocabulary used during the hackathon 2019 is not ideal. Most of the controversy lies in the term "flow object". This issue seems of high importance because it affects how people perceive the ontology, understand it and decide whether to take it up or not.
Below, we summarise the different views/suggestions on that issue, pros, cons and remarks.
V1. [Chris] "Flow object" is not consistent with the other terms of the ontology and is hard to related to. The alternative "item" is suggested.
Pro: definition of item is "an individual article or unit, especially one that is part of a list, collection, or set" which fits in the concept.
Pro: it echoes to fields of computer science and mathematics
Remark: activities are also part of a list/collection/set, according to that definition activities are also items of a collection of activities.
V2. [Chris] "Flow" is good but has no natural counterpart. An alternative for "flow" could be "exchange".
V3. [Agneta] Return to the published LCA ontology (Kuczenski et al. 2016), with the three terms Activity (a thing that happens), Flow (a thing in the world that exists because of some instance of an Activity), and Exchange (an established relationship between an activity instance and a flow instance).
Pro: (to verify) coherence with the vocabulary used by most industrial ecologist / (disagreement) in (1) the authors argue that terminology is not consistent between industrial ecologist, even for basic definitions.
(1) Pauliuk, S.; Majeau-Bettez, G.; Müller, D. B.; Hertwich, E. G. Toward a Practical Ontology for Socioeconomic Metabolism. J. Ind. Ecol. 2016, 20 (6), 1260–1272; DOI 10.1111/jiec.12386.
V4. [Rutger] In ecospold1, only exchanges are defined. In ILCD data formats, both exchange and flows (i.e. flow objects) are defined. Environmental compartments are specified. In SimaPro platform, Flows do not include compartments, as in the Bonsai hackathon version. Exchange is not yet used, but is considered. At PRé, flow-objects are of two types: substances and products, but not perfect.
Con: flow and exchange are both dynamic terms
V5. [Matteo] Flow and Flow-object in the post-hackathon ontology are clear and well defined: they relate the Flow and the Object of the Flow (aka the Flow Object). In other words, by keeping the word "flow" in both definitions their link and subtle difference is kept explicit and forces the new-comer to think twice about these definitions.
Pro: all terms can be confusing, the advantage of Flow and Flow-object is that the difficulty is not hidden behind different terms, does not allow for misunderstanding to happen.
V6. [Bo] The vocabulary we use needs to distinguish between "the observation of a specific flow (22 kg input of steel) and the abstract flow-object (steel)".
V7. [Agneta] "hackathon vocabulary" -> "new vocabulary"
Flow-object => Flow
Flow => Exchange
Long List of Terms:
Flow object, entity, object, flux, item, thing, element, substance, component, Noumenon, Flow-item, commodity
Flow, Exchange, Phenomenon
Bravo / Looking at it from a different angle
This being said, I would like to add to the discussion the following points:
Definition 1, Sets: A set is a collection of distinct objects
Definition 2, Hierarchical, mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (H-MECE) object classification: An HMECE object classification is a grouping of a given set of objects into an H-MECE collection of sets.
Definition 3, Stock: A stock is a set of objects of interest.
Definition 4, Process: A process is a set-based description of one or several events of interest, expressed in terms of the objects of interest that are involved in these events during their course.
Definition 5, Flow: A flow is a description of a particular type of event, where objects are preserved and move from one set a to another set b.
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Behalf Of Chris Mutel
I added a table with what I could make of the existing systems, and the possible alternatives we have discussed, here: https://github.com/BONSAMURAIS/BONSAI-ontology-RDF-framework/blob/master/Terminology-discussion.md. Feel free to edit this if you think I have made a mistake.