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August 31, 2006


Donfack Kana A.F.

As long as works are concentrated mostly on the semantic representation of knowledge using ontology, the vision of the semantic web will not be fully achieved. The real problem relies on interoperability between ontologies. If mapping has failled to provide a viable solution(since no one exist), the solution may rely in adding one extra layer on the semantic web called interoperabiliy layer. This layer will will provide the principles, theories and interactive agent of interoperability. The layer is expected to interact with the ontology layer of the semantic web above it and also with interoperability layer of others document seen as layers beneath it(although it is a different document )

Francesco Sclano

Hi everybody,
TermExtractor, my master thesis, is online at the
address http://lcl2.di.uniroma1.it.

TermExtractor is a software package for automatic extraction of terminology consensually
referred in a specific application domain. The package
takes as input a corpus of domain documents, parses
the documents, and extracts a list of "syntactically
plausible" terms (e.g. compounds, adjective-nouns,
etc.). Documents parsing assigns a greater importance
to terms with text layouts (title, bold, italic,
underlined, etc.). Two entropy-based measures, called
Domain Relevance and Domain Consensus, are then used.
Domain Consensus is used to select only the terms
which are consensually referred throughout the corpus
documents. Domain Relevance to select only the terms
which are relevant to the domain of interest, Domain
Relevance is computed with reference to a set of
contrastive terminologies from different domains.
Finally, extracted terms are further filtered using
Lexical Cohesion, that measures the degree of
association of all the words in a terminological
string. Accept files formats are: txt, pdf, ps, dvi,
tex, doc, rtf, ppt, xls, xml, html/htm, chm, wpd and
also zip archives.


Great summary of the problem facing semantic web development. My personal experience leans toward putting emphasis first on building good ontology for your application rather than reusing existing ones. This is because, at this early stage, it's rare to find classes or properties in existing ontologies that can meet all the specific requirements for the new ontology being developed.

For example, I tried to reuse as much as I can for the scientific publishing ontology being developed under W3C task force I'm coordinating. The current version has properties taken from DC and FOAF, but I always feel it's not right. Often times, the terms look right, but the ontological definition is off. I may have to throw most of them out in the next revision.

Some useful applications do not necessarily rely on integration of data represented in many different ontologies. Semantic publishing is an example, which I’m experimenting with now. I think compromising the integrity of the ontology itself for the sake of ontology reuse or future integration does not serve the purpose well.


I have to agree with bblfish, in fact he took the words right off my tounge. Encouraging authors to create their own ontologies from scratch will be a disaster for the semantic web, despite the existence of "merging" tools and interfaces. And any effort to merge synonymous ontologies would be as wasteful as an effort to merge Java classes in different libraries which serve the same purpose. It may even be bit reckless to do so. Remember, we adopted the semantic web to finally get away from ambiguity. What you're proposing will only encourage it. Ontology authors should instead be encouraged (through the availability of good search tools) to find, reuse, extend and re-publish! I understand your argument about the idiosyncrasies of different authors needs. Perhaps by establishing good conventions and best practices for developing "extension-friendly" ontologies, authors can be encouraged to develop their ontologies with the idea in mind they are to be used by others. This may mean refraining from using organization methodologies which might hinder other other's efforts.

I think semantic silos are created when ontologies are authored in vacums. The answer could be a wikitology. This allows the greatest denominator of methodologies to win out by democracy. As for those ontologists who can't shoe-horn their needs into what's availible in the wiki, here again, I believe they have no choice, because in the semantic web, if you're not talking the same language as everyone else, then you simply won't be heard (by sw agents, indexing tools, crawlers etc). With that aside though, I think such a wikitology could provide the "source of truth" that is lacking, and still accommodate the need for autonomy which you speak of, since everyone has a chance to design and influence the features of the ontology. There are public indecies of RDF ontologies (schemaweb, pingthesemanticweb), and there are even semantic wiki's (ontoworld), but there has yet (to my knowledge) been anyone whose created a wiki that allows us to collaboratively develop ontologies. If anyone has, please post as I'd like to know how I can help.


This may be a common problem for all 4th generation language programming. When I write SQL or XSLT, I have less incentive to reuse, partially because of the power of these languages, partially because of the effort involving adapting the abstraction layer (e.g. table structure, xml schema).
For ontologies, maybe we should start question whether mixing OO (Java) and functional rules is appropriate, even though most people say it's a happy marriage.
The question is with "enough" abstracted information, aspects, and ontologies, is it possible to blur the line between reality and virtuality.


This is a thoughtful introduction to the nature of the beast. Let me say a few words about the path I am taking in this regard, a simple path: I am not in pursuit of any *integration* methodology. Rather, I am evolving methodologies for *federation*. Patrick Durusau and I gave a telecon lecture on the early version of federation [1] and I am now building the platform to do subject-centric federation. At SRI, we grafted a "delicious" workalike we call Tagomizer onto my subject map provider TopicSpaces. We did that to explore more learning opportunities for our project CALO.

I realize it's a kind of change of subject from "integration" to "federation." There are, I think, two primary use cases for ontologies that direct how they are crafted and how they are used. One is the purely authoritative stance where questions to be answered must be judged, by some authority, to be correct. The other is not at all authoritative, and can be thought to be closer to the general "understanding some universe of discourse" needs of humanity. One would likely never want to integrate authoritative ontologies, except to the extent that some information will be lost when one "authority" contradicts another and the merging process is required to make a choice. But, it's more then a good idea to federate disparate world views in order to more thoroughly present some universe of discourse. No information is lost. That's the role of subject-centric federation.

As a final comment, it's bound to happen that some ontology classes imported into a subject map will find no "mates" with which to merge -- nothing else in the map talking about the same subject. Those new "subjects" will not become islands in the map; they will always be linked to the subject that is their source, as will be each merged class within the subject proxy that is its new container in the map.

[1] http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2006_04_27


I agree about the problem. But does one not have the same problem in Java? In java everyone can go and create their own classes. And that's what most people do in fact do. Then when they find that there is really a large distributed need for the same functionality pressure is created towards integrating those classes into standardised and well established libraries. These then get to be widely used, and the cycle starts again.

Integration on the Semantic Web should be a lot easier than with Java in some ways. But I can see the same thing happening. People open up their database and create their own ontologies. Then they find that a number of people share the same terms, so that they might as wells standardise on those, for legal and for business reasons (it's difficult to maintain, there's less trust, and the network effect). Hence the pressure will build towards standardised ontologies.

This is not to say that good integration tools would not be useful. In fact it would be a very powerful tool, that would make things a lot easier. A little bit like refactoring IDEs in java.

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