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


Hi all,

My philosophy on naming in ontologies revolves not on the simplicity of the terms used but on how they sound like when you talk about them in normal conversations. Does it sound awkward or normal? On the terms of the ontology:

Flow -> Right now this term is used to refer to the transfer of material or objects from an activity (as an output) to another activity (as an input), thereby connecting these two activities. In my opinion, changing this term to exchange does not affect the overall understanding of the ontology. Either would work. I can have a material flow from one activity to another activity.

Flow-object -> This is defined as an object that is referenced in a flow. Many flows can reference a single instance of a flow-object. I think this is where confusion may set in, as a flow-object can be imagined as an instance of flow. And I agree with Chris that this doesn’t sound right when talking about it. It just doesn’t seem natural to mention a flow object.

I don’t think flow itself works here as the word flow doesn’t equate to any object or material.

For the idea regarding using the term “thing”, everything in any ontology is a subclass of owl:Thing, at least according to the specifications of w3c, so this is redundant and may lead to confusion.
Regarding flow-item, while this seems like a good idea, I generally associate the term item to something that I can itemize or count. Steel, copper, coal, and all the other things used don’t have a problem. However, for CO2, water, steam, etc., this doesn’t seem like a good term to use.

My initial idea to fix this is by making flow an adjective, as in the case of Flowing-Object. However, this doesn’t sound right in language as well. My previous argument for the flow-item would then be reversed; coal steel and those solid objects do not necessarily flow.

My secondary idea involves using the term Exchanged-Object. This is not necessarily related to the first term flow, but both can be adapted so that it sounds more congruent overall. This also sounds better as the question that arises from it sounds better in English (e.g. What’s the exchanged-object between the two activities you mentioned? In this flow, what’s the exchanged-object?)

Flow -> “Exchange” or retain “Flow”
Flow-object -> “Exchanged-Object”




Miguel Remolona

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