An Ontology-Based Approach for Organizing, Sharing, and Querying Knowledge Objects on the Web

Abstract

This paper describes an ontology-based knowledge system for creating and sharing user's personal objects, with support for querying semantic associations. The user specifies and populates a local ontology, which helps him to organize his personal objects. For users who wish to work cooperatively, or divulgate their personal objects in the so-called community of practices, the system provides a mapping between the local and global ontologies, both defined using the Resource Description Framework (RDF) model. This global ontology is available on a Web server and provides global semantic query capability. The mapping task, as well as the objects organization process, are supported by a thesaurus. It ensures that each user's view is preserved, as he is able to visualize and query objects using his original vocabulary, independently of the way they have been represented in the global ontology. 1 Introduction The Web has become a pervasive part of our daily life. It helps us in a wide range of purposes such as e-business, e-shopping, e-entertainment and e-education, as the result of a massive development of software industry. In this vast and heterogeneous amount of information repository, most users (people, enterprises, groups, organisms, etc.) publish their contents in an autonomous way, without considering any use of model or any metadata standard to represent information. When considering organizations geographically dispersed, where information exchange is crucial among its virtual groups, effective tools to manage and foster information turn out to be an important requirement. Yet, efficient exchange and integration of information crucially depends on the way information is organized, and on mechanisms to represent semantic information content on the Web. Although still a challenge, researches progress towards the S emantic Web, such as envisioned by Berners-Lee [2]. According to his conception, data should be modeled through a multi-layer architecture [1], considering it from its syntactic aspect until its real semantic meaning. The Semantic Web is built upon two W3C standards, corresponding to the second and third layers respectively of Berners-Lee's architecture: the XML language [22], which provides standard syntax for data representation, ensuring data exchange; and the framework Resource Description Framework-RDF [21], a standard data model for expressing structure and representing metadata vocabularies. This model allows the user to define relationships between resources as semantic graphs on the Web, using XML as the syntax language to transport data. Although RDF provides the ability to represent schema structure, it is semantically limited, and hence it …

DOI: 10.1109/DEXA.2003.1232088

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