Ontology Engineering

Natalya F. Noy
Stanford University

In recent years the development of ontologies - explicit formal specifications of the terms in the domain and relations among them -has been moving from the realm of Artificial-Intelligence laboratories to the desktops of domain experts. Ontologies have also become common on the World-Wide Web. The ontologies on the Web range from large taxonomies categorizing Web sites (such as on Yahoo!) to categorizations of products for sale and their features (such as on Amazon.com). On the Web and in many large applications ontologies serve a variety of purposes: making the knowledge about a particular domain explicit, sharing and reusing this knowledge, analyzing domain knowledge. A number of languages for defining ontologies on the Web, such as RDF(S) and DAML+OIL, are under development. In this tutorial we will discuss why one would build an ontology and present a methodology for creating ontologies based on declarative knowledge representation systems. We will present ontology examples, discuss common problems and pitfalls in ontology development and approaches to solving the problems. We will also give a brief overview of the current research issues in ontology engineering and compare some Web-based ontology-representation languages.

About The Speaker
Natalya F. Noy is a research scientist in the Stanford Medical Informatics laboratory at Stanford University. Her research focuses on ontology development and evaluation, semantic integration of ontologies, and making ontology-development accessible to experts in noncomputer-science domains. She is a member of the Protégé group at Stanford University, which develops a graphical and extensible software environment for ontology editing. She has received a PhD degree from Northeastern University concentrating on the challenges of ontology development in experimental sciences.

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