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[ba-unrev-talk] Ontologies and volunteers

Has anyone read the Professor and the Madman? About the making of the Oxford English Dictionary? I found it very inspiring.  Perhaps our discussion of ontologies might reflect on the history of dictionaries? Taking lessons from the evolution of dictionaries as an early knowledge artifact?


They took the position that in relation to the definition of words, there is value in recording and citing “usage” and that there is no “right” definition, because that would kill any living language.


About the recruitment of many many volunteers to contribute to this massive 44+ year project. That it took 27 years from the first suggestion of a dictionary to record all English words, to the actual beginning of the project,…. Yes, to get to just the beginning! Our human systems do not evolve easily, but inexorably, they work out what needs to work and mysteriously, find ways to do it.



Mei Lin Fung