all bits considered data to information to knowledge


Taxonomy and Ontology in Systems Architecture

Taxonomy and ontology are bread and butter of every software system architecture. And yet the very people practicing it barely can agree upon what they actually mean!

Some think these concepts to be interchangeable; some (myself included) think  that taxonomy is but a classification (usually in a parent-child hierarchical relationship, e.g. Linnaen classification) , a component of ontology which deals with domain definition and more complex semantic relationships within.

And then I come across a definition of Architectural Taxonomy: "A methodology for organizing and categorizing of architectural artifacts" quoted in Roger Sessions' book Simple Architectures for Complex Enterprises (from Carnegie Mellon University collection of definitions).

Unless they mean Architectural Ontology, I fail to see how a simple hierarchical classification can account for non-linear and non-hierarchical relationships of various architectural artifacts, not to mention their dynamics...


Universal Query Language

The way we are searching for information is changing: no longer do we need organize information upfront, defining categories and inferring relationships. Instead, we trust Google or Bing to “do its thing”, and organize the information for us on the fly, and infer taxonomy from content and context.

If the era of structured information is over, should not we also take a look at the Structured Query Language, the language of relational databases? No need for taxonomy in data structuring because there data is not structured up to a moment it is served up, and then there categories and classes will be determined from the context – different taxonomies for different queries.

This calls for a high level language – Universal Query Language (UQL).
Of course, as soon as I spelled the idea out I went to google it up – and about 49,100 entries showed up!  Some of these actually dealt with information access: SPARQL, XQuery, LINQ, LOREL, Quilt… Even UQL showed up, UQL: A UML-based Query Language for Integrated Data ( published in Association for Computing Machinery magazine,  Programming and Computing Software, Volume 28 ,  Issue 4  (July-August 2002) Pages: 189 - 196  Year of Publication: 2002, ISSN:0361-7688)

Must be something in the air!