2007-08-02-12:33 -0700

You're at the /meaning section of an web site.  This is a section that I don't want to have.  It is needed because there are questions about the meaning of data, data in relationship to information, even knowledge in data.  This is intended to provide a point of entry on the topic.

Sometimes presumptions of meaning show up in expressions such as "self-describing data."  I have used that term myself.  Now I want to rethink that notion.  There is a better form of speaking that does not situate meaning in data and that accounts for how data is found to be meaningful and informative.

Here's the sort of thing I have in mind, well before we get to meaning in the OWL Semantics sense:

The approach is going to be based on the premise that it is we who attribute meaning to things, including data and everything else.  An useful model for that will be distinction between focal attention and subordinate attention based on ideas put forward by Michael Polanyi.  This will also be a good place to deal with tacit knowledge and how it figures in toolcraft as well as the overall situation of data.

I would not think it necessary to treat meaning here, as much as I find it an interesting topic for philosophical inquiry, but for how it arises in Situating XML.  Since attribution of meaning to data is very much part of the Semantic Web programme, it must be dealt with.  Also, it relates to the move toward modeling of all kinds in the context of data processing (and what goes by information technology).

Also, we will be addressing logic and language, two meaning-ensnarled topics, as part of Situating Data and practically everything else, including Situating Computation.  Even when we keep everything informal, it will be important to provide access (confirmable experience) to (formalized) treatments of the formal, and to rely on explicit assertion of the approaches to formality that I rely on here.  I am not out to impose or limit systems, but to be clear about the ones I am relying on for clarity, directness, and verification of what I have to offer.

I am not sure where meaning finally can't be ignored in the spiraling progression of nfoWare eBooks.  At the point where we start seriously looking at documents and their electronic forms, meaning will need to be dealt with or at least disposed of.  I expect that it will show up sooner in even basic treatment of "text" and character-set encodings.  And certainly where we speak of languages in the mechanical if not ordinary sense.  When we get to the semantic systems proposed for The Semantic Web, we will definitely have to establish a workable approach to meaning.  Meanwhile, this is the scrapbook for snippets on meaning and for where we might walk the reader through all of the situations in which meaning arises in the subject matter of nfoWare.

This page, index.htm, is part of the engineering, construction management, maintenance, and infrastructure of nfoWare.  You are welcome to explore and see how the site is constructed.   Just don't forget your hard hat.

This is not the main entrance to the Meaning section.   The entrance is at the Meaning default page.   If you are unable to reach or navigate beyond the default entry, return later.  The entrance is blocked off whenever the construction crew is blasting in the area. 

Hard Hat Area


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created 2004-01-13-15:12 -0800 (pst) by orcmid
$$Author: Orcmid $
$$Date: 16-11-11 10:31 $
$$Revision: 29 $