The On-To-Knowledge contribution: Ontologies

The On-To-Knowledge project applies ontologies to electronically available information to improve the quality of knowledge management in large and distributed organisations.

Ontologies are formal theories supporting knowledge sharing and reuse (cf., CYC, KACTUS, KIF and Ontolingua). They can be used to explicitly represent semantics of semi-structured information. This enables sophisticated automatic support for acquiring, maintaining, and accessing information. For this we will develop a methodology and tools for intelligent access to large volumes of semistructured and textual information sources in intra-, extra-, and internet-based environments to employ the full power of ontologies in supporting knowledge management from two perspectives:

1. The Information Client. Access to knowledge must be simple and effective. The costs and barriers in accessing knowledge has to be lowered and the user needs to be made aware of existing knowledge sources. Existing keyword-based retrieval techniques clearly fail on these requirements. Improving access to information sources is the first main goal of the On-To-Knowledge.

2. The Information Provider: Providing and maintaining large bodies of textual and semistructured information sources with current techniques is a labour-intensive and costly activity. Lowering these costs is the second main goal of the project.

The goal of the On-To-Knowledge project is to support efficient and effective knowledge management. We will focus on acquiring, maintaining, and accessing weakly-structured online information sources:

  • Acquiring: Text mining and extraction techniques are applied to extract semantic information from textual information (i.e., to acquire information).

  • Maintaining: RDF and XML are used for describing syntax and semantics of semi-structured information sources. Toolsupport enables automatic maintenance and view definitions on this knowledge.

  • Accessing: Pushservices and agent techology support users in accessing the information.

Project Extension Goal

The On-To-Knowledge extension contribution: Ontology Middleware. The extension of the project will develop an ontology middleware module (OMM) to serve as a key integration component. The basic issue about the usability of this module are the application programming interfaces (API) that the client software should use to connect with it. So, the first goal will be to define such API Ð this involves analysis of the tools and services to be accessible through the OMM on one hand and on the typical client modules on the other. Having well-defined API is even more important than the implementation of the OMM itself. A complementary goal would be to provide some reasoning services that seem to be very critical for a wide range of applications.