[IPP] Need for consensus on the Value of the Semantic Model Activity

[IPP] Need for consensus on the Value of the Semantic Model Activity

[IPP] Need for consensus on the Value of the Semantic Model Activity

wamwagner at comcast.net wamwagner at comcast.net
Thu Jun 25 14:12:52 UTC 2015

In recent SM3 conference calls, we have considered why the SM3 workgroup has been unable to make much progress on its primary project, the update of the PWG Semantic Model speciation (SM3). There was some progress in 2011-2013 (wd-pwgsemanticmodel20-20130624.pdf)  , and attempt to reactivate this in December 2013 (Sections-1-3-20131216.docx).  However since then, the only activity has been multiple versions of outlines. 

Certainly, not having a secretary or effective minutes have resulted in a loss of continuity and repeated considerations of the same issues, often with different results since everyone has a different recollection of what was decided.  And, of course, the workgroup members have other responsibilities and cannot always complete tasks on time, assuming that without minutes, they know what their tasks were. These problems reflect a lack of commitment by the workgroup and by the PWG membership to maintain and advance the Semantic Model. And this perhaps stems from a lack of understanding and consensus on the value and purpose of the effort. 

The PWG, unlike a government committee and some standards organizations, is not out just to perpetrate itself. We do not generate specifications just for the sake of generating specifications; the member companies would not support this and the participants have other things to do. If there is no value in an effort, it does not get participation and support, and limps along until it is finally recognized as defunct. Although there remains some interest in the Semantic Model activity, there appears to be no consensus on the purpose and the value of this activity. So the support is spotty and the fine outlines and approaches suggested by some do not resonate with anyone prepared to do the writing.

One of the original value points was to have a binding-independent representation of the imaging interface model (although this may no longer be applicable as no one envisions a binding other than IPP.) Another value point suggested was to have an abstract summary description to provide an overview (and perhaps a guide to the many IPP documents). Another idea was that an abstract approach might expose issues and potentials hidden by the details of a specific binding. Certainly, the form and structure of an SM3 specification would be different depending on the primary perceived value point.

It is interesting that, at the end of 2009, the workgroup generated a paper to "review and refresh the rationale for the MFD Modeling effort and the 2 generation of PWG Semantic Model version 2" (ftp://ftp.pwg.org/pub/pwg/mfd/white/GoalForTheMFDModelingEffort20100114.pdf). This too was at a time of wavering interest. Perhaps the rationale outline in that document still holds.  But, if we cannot agree on the purpose of an updated semantic model specification, I do not think that the workgroup will produce a useful specification. Although, in a press, something can be produced, I and I suspect most of the PWG membership are not interested in a nominal document just created to satisfy a charter item.

I suggest that the PWG membership consider the purpose of the Semantic Model  activity, whether there is justifiable value in updating the Semantic Model and, if so, what that value is. Establishing these things should provide both the direction and the necessary participation to complete these specifications. And if they cannot be established, then there obviously is no need to continue with the activity. 

Thanks, Bill Wagner
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