User Guide






Ontologies : Domain Presentation


In the context of knowledge representation and reasoning, the term ontology means a specification of a conceptualization [3] . An ontology is therefore a description of the concepts that exist or can exist in a particular domain as well as of the relationships in which the various concepts may enter. 

Ontologies are designed for knowledge sharing since they provide the common vocabulary (or description space) for a set of agents, either human or software. Therefore, they have a consensual character, although there is no need for a particular ontology to be the product of a universal consensus (personal ontologies may exist).

Examples of existing large scale ontologies are WordNet [5] and Cyc [4]. 

Large, electronically stored and accessible-through-web ontologies are the backbone of the Semantic web. Although there may be ontologies described in a wide range of languages, two of those languages are en route to become standards: RDF(S) [1] and OWL [2].


[1] Dan Brickley and Ramanathan Guha. Resource Description Framework (RDF) Schema Specification 1.0. Recommendation, W3C, 2000. http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/CR-rdf-schema-20000327

[2] Mike Dean and Guus Schreiber (eds.). OWL web ontology language: reference. Recommendation, W3C, 2004. http://www.w3.org/TR/owlref/

[3] Thomas R. Gruber, Toward principles for the design of ontologies used for knowledge sharing, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 43(5-6):907-928, 1995.

[4] Douglas B. Lenat. Cyc: A Large-Scale Investment in  Knowledge Infrastructure.  The Communications of the  ACM 38(11):33-38, 1995.

[5] George Miller. WordNet: A lexical database for English. Communications of the ACM, 38(11):3941, 1995.



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