Ontolog Forum


OpenOntologyRepository (OOR) Initiative - Approach

This page is for documentation related to the OOR initiative's approach, and the process being used.


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Proposed for Adoption

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Ideas & Candidates

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    • Phase 1: Storage, Access, Business Processes, and Tools for Ontologies.
In the first phase three major aspects are addressed.
The first aspect emphasizes storing, searching, and locating ontologies. The architecture consists of 1) an index that contains metadata about an ontology or an RDF store, 2) the ontology and RDF stores, 3) user services to support storing, searching, and locating ontologies.
The second aspect addresses business processes. Policies will be developed to guide the naming, management and partitioning of ontologies and the collection of simple metrics to help understand how the Repository is used. Ontology development will focus on the representation of simple taxonomies, on so-called facet ontologies (i.e., simple property hierarchies; typically facets define terminological dimensions as in thesauri), or more, depending on their needs. Important subject areas during this phase include general reference information, such as Country Codes and similar categories. Core metadata requirements for ontologies will be refined during this period. Translation services will be defined or provided for simple cases, e.g., OWL to HTML.
A very important business process function is the notification of ontology changes to ontology clients (either humans or automated services). During Phase 1, various mechanisms, such as the use of RSS feeds, should be investigated, as well as the appropriate vocabulary needed to communicate these changes.
The third area addresses downloadable tools appropriate to use in the development and maintenance of ontologies and related functions. An example is an ontology editor: some editors, like Protégé, are relatively mature, are open source, and are generally available.
Initially, the architecture itself should in principle support a de-centralized storage of ontologies and data stores. To facilitate searching and to reduce response time for search and discovery, the ontology metadata index itself can be centralized. Research during this period will focus on ontology editing tools, ontology mapping tools, the linking of ontologies to RDF "instance" stores of facts, ontology modularity and composability, representation of numerics, and the scalability of Semantic Web technology.
Achievement of Phase 1 goals themselves will be a significant achievement. The Repository could, for example, precisely define the concepts that are usually associated with a subject authority, such as geographic region codes, various subject matter codes and categories, and taxonomies used by search engines to identify broader and narrower terms.
    • Phase 2: Better Access, Search, Validation, Importing, and Mapping of Ontologies
Phase 2 emphasizes providing a broader array of machine services for access and use of repository contents. These will include validation and searching of ontology contents with path-type queries and conceptual queries. Ontologies will be developed to describe or even generate database schema and interfaces traditionally defined only by the use of a hardcopy Interface Control Document. Ontology domains will expand to include service and rule-based descriptions. The facet ontologies developed during Phase 1 will be used to define and describe integrating, conceptual ontologies in various domains. Search technology will use ontologies to search over RDF data stores.
During Phase 2, special attention will be paid to issues including ontology importing, composition, and mapping. Downloads of additional semantic tools will be provided in Phase 2. These tools will be tested for interoperability with Repository services and other tools. An example is an OWL editor, which should produce OWL code that a validator can recognize as valid OWL.
    • Phase 3: Distributed Query Support and Automated Inference
Phase 3 marks a shift in the use of the Repository. In Phase 3, the use of the Repository to support inferencing and intelligent distributed query automatically will be expanded. Web crawling, indexing, and ontology-aided classification/categorization will be more prominent. The use of Repository ontologies to access and search "back-end" databases will be implemented. Mechanisms will be added to automatically notify human and machine subscribers of changes in the repository contents. Security features will be added to support restrictions by community of interest. Translation services for OWL to other target languages, e.g. UML, will be expanded. It is expected that a class of ontologies will be identified as approved or certified during this phase.
    • Phase 4: Expanded Community Support
Phase 4 is an expansion of the capabilities developed in previous Phases to support large-scale RDF and OWL stores and federated search across community resources. The ontology repository will more actively support the needs of community information interoperability and large-scale information exchange mechanisms as identified by the community.
    • A 3-step approach:
1. A set of tangible deliverables are established
2. Participants volunteer for one or more deliverables and offer effort / cost estimates for the required R&D
3. Sponsor organizations are identified that wish to make use of the deliverables. They step up to fund the cost of R&D, thus incenting the participants to produce the deliverables
Perhaps it would be good in future meetings to give the meetings a more R&D flavor rather than an academic flavor. This would mean focusing more on Deliverables, ACTION ITEMS, Participants, Roles, Sponsors, dependencies, status, issues etc.