Frequently Asked Questions

* Did this book come out of the blue?
No, there have been several versions of written lecture notes before. It all started in 2009 with blog posts for the first installment of the OE course. They were put together for the OE courses at UH and Meraka in 2010 (lingering around here) and they were gradually expanded upon over the years.

* Would it not have been better with a 'proper publisher'?
Possibly. The version published by College Publications definitely looks neater than the free pdf from this site. Rigorous reviews may help improve clearer writing at least. There are several reasons why it wasn't published by one of the 'traditional' publishers. First and foremost, I think knowledge should be free, open, and shared. I also have benefited from material that has been made openly available, and I think it is fair to continue contributing to such sharing. Also, my current employer pays me sufficient to live from and I don't think it would sell thousands of copies (needed for making a decent amount of money from a textbook), so setting up such a barrier of high costs for its use does not seem like a good idea. A minor consideration is that it would have taken much more time to publish, both due to the logistics and the additional reviewing (previous multi-author general textbook efforts led to nothing due to conflicting interests and lack of time, so I unlikely would ever satisfy all reviewers, if they would get around reading it), yet I needed the book for the next OE installment.

* Why is there no glossary?
Coming up with tweet-size definitions is far from trivial, and several terms can have more than one definition. With IAOA's Technical Committee on Education we're working on an accessible term list with short definitions.

* Why did you not mention my tool/method/specialisation?
I tried to stick with about 20 pages for each chapter in blocks I and II and 10 chapters in total in version 1 of the book, so hard choices had to be made. It wasn't much different for v1.5.

* Are there enhancements in the pipeline?
At present: no. I had received a grant from the "Digitial Open Textbooks for Develpment" (DOT4D) project to improve on the textbook and related teaching resources, which resulted in v1.5. The improvements were principally regarding the exercises, tutorials, Chapter 11 (co-authored with Zubeida Khan), more in Chapter 9, and several OE supporting tools and plugins.

* Will there be a version 2 some time in the future?
Possibly. I did try to catch all syntactic and semantic typos, but still missed a few at least in v1 (see errata). More importantly, however, is 1) that for several topics, I discuss more in the lectures than has been written down, so perhaps a next 'new-and-improved!' version might be around 25 pages/chapter for the chapters in blocks I and II; 2) there are other well-known subtopics that are not yet covered in Block III (among others, ontology matching), and 3) perhaps some application areas for a 'Block IV' may be of interest, such as ontology-driven conceptual modelling, ontology-enhanced information retrieveal, and the (very) lightweight notion of ontology used for wikidata, knowledge graphs, and vocabularies.

* What to do with the logic notations when you have a visual impairment?
It is possible to train the screen reader on it. It's been tried, tested, and used by one of my former PhD students (now research scientst at IBM), Dr. Joan Byamugisha. The instructions are described here.