Ontologies for Web Information Systems and Open Applications
Prof. Robert Meersman from STAR Lab has presented a keynote talk at IEEE DEST 2008 (Second IEEE Conference on Digital Ecosystems and Technologies), Phitsanulok, Thailand. This conference has a special theme on "Selforganized Collaborative Platform" this year.
Ontologies for Web Information Systems and Open Applications.
Ontologies are the key enabling resource for the meaningful deployment of information in open environments such as the WWW. Examples however today of so-called ontologies in the research literature on the Semantic Web are often in fact just their author's (extended) data model for a particular, a priori known, application that author has in mind.
Ontologies as computer-based repositories of a domain's semantics however should not be bound to the context of a single "application". Indeed they must express a form of community-based agreement, in an "application-independent" language, on the concepts, relationships, events, rules and processes present in that domain, according to that community. Agreements therefore imply (virtual) communities of users and/or developers that collaborate towards a shared, and formal, understanding. Enterprises today that want to deploy IT activity on "the" semantic web are confronted with multiple such "webs", and must face the relative unfamiliarity of the research community with the legacy data problem and with rael issues of scalability.
In the DOGMA Framework (Developing Ontology-Grounded Methodology and Applications) in VUB STARLab we study the theoretical foundations of ontologies and of collaborative ontology engineering, and are building an experimental tool suite to illustrate the principles that we claim are involved such as scalability and involving non-computer trained domain experts. This seminar reports on some results and applications as well as difficulties.
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