Keeping the Design Open

  • Michael K. Bergman


O penness is a recent and profound force, both creative and destructive. The mindset of ‘openness’ is not a discrete thing, but a concept with separate strands. Open logics and the open-world assumption enable us to add information to existing systems without the need to re-architect the underlying schema. Open content works to promote derivative and reinforcing factors in open knowledge, education, and government. Open-source software has changed the landscape for innovation at low cost. Open standards promote collaboration and make it easier for data and programs to interoperate. Open data in public knowledge bases are a driver of recent AI advances in knowledge. Open also means we can obtain our knowledge from anywhere. Our knowledge graphs useful to a range of actors must reflect the languages and labels meaningful to those actors. We should thus be explicit (‘open’) about the diversity of terms in our vocabularies, using multiple senses to associate related concepts. Any name or label that draws attention to a given thing can provide the same referential power as a synonym. We use reference concepts (RCs) to provide fixed points in the information space for linking with external content. KBpedia is a knowledge graph of approximately 55,000 of these RCs. Then, we use RDF as a kind of ‘universal solvent’ to model most any data form. We match this flexible representation with the ability to handle semantic differences using OWL 2, providing an open standard way to interoperate with open content (and proprietary content).


Openness Open source Open data RDF OWL Vocabulary Reference concept 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael K. Bergman
    • 1
  1. 1.Cognonto CorporationCoralvilleUSA

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