Alana Mohamed Weekly Response #5

I really enjoyed the Baker reading, but I got hung up on the section about, “Constraining data versus constraining underlying domain models and vocabularies.”  I’m not quite understanding the difference and it may be due to a flaw in understanding how these models and vocabularies work.  But, as of right now, I’m under the impression that data models and vocabularies all form the base of ontological investigation, so isn’t constraining either of those constraining “things in the real world” as Baker puts it?  If we’re going to talk ontology and vocabulary, wouldn’t most philosophers say that any vocabulary inherently limits ontological expression as much as it serves it?  So how can Baker put forth ISBD in RDF or the Murray-Tillett approach to FRBR as less limiting of “things in the real world” than OWL, but still limiting of “things in data?”  Doesn’t data, or perception of data, alter our vision of “the real world?”  I understand that disjointed entities inhibits a more associative, user-engaged process, but I still don’t understand why these other vocabularies are seen as less constricting when the very nature of language is one of constriction, or if you’d rather, expression within the confines of socially-agreed upon standards?  I suspect that I’m getting too philosophical for my own good.  I also suspect that I may be trying to apply my understanding of linguistics in philosophy too acutely to this reading and my (addmittedly poor) understanding of descriptive languages and cataloging.


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