In reviewing some literature recently I came across the phrase 'semantic reef'. In forwarding a copy of the paper Dr Trina Myers described the semantic reef as: an architecture created to automatically infer phenomenon or alerts about coral reefs using Semantic technologies (aka. Linked Data).
The coinage of semantic reef in the paper by Myers and Atkinson really captured my imagination. While the semantic web is of interest to me and the environment is the oxygen to the human ecosystem, to our very existence and well-being; Myers and Atkinson's semantic reef is very specific:
The Semantic Reef Knowledge Representation system is an eco-informatics application designed to assist in the integration of remotely sensed data streams and historic data sets supporting flexible hypothesis design and knowledge extraction. The system is an ontology-based architecture built to allow researchers to combine disjoint data sets into a single Knowledge Base for modelling the impact of climate change on coral reef ecosystems. p.16.I've written previously of the conceptual role that the axes of Hodges' model can play. How they act as a distinct, idealised boundary between the disciplines. Most evident is the MECHANISTIC-HUMANISTIC divide between the hard sciences and the humanities. Academics, researchers, health practitioners can become trapped in a disciplinary silo. Reefs are often a Great Barrier. Mariners have to find navigable waters to find a way through. Safe passage is recorded.
The last thing anyone wants is a shipwreck; whether in the ecosphere, designing software or health care.
Maybe this is another (long-winded-yes) way of recognising the collapse of holistic bandwidth at the point of a medical emergency, a crisis. The situation IS a shipwreck. A disaster of a very personal kind. What lies beyond the information required in that specific instant, what lies outside that atoll is suddenly not important.
More positively though a reef also represents an opportunity. It is a sign, a measure of global health. As such it IS a community. It is community. Harmony. Balance. It is the community around which others revolve. And we need to recognise; nOt that, but this and nOw. ...:
Trina Myers, Ian Atkinson (2013). Eco-informatics modelling via semantic inference. Information Systems. 38, 1, March 2013, 16–32.
Thanks to Dr Trina Myers.
Australian National Maritime Museum