Products and Services Ontologies: A Methodology for Deriving OWL Ontologies from Industrial Categorization Standards

Products and Services Ontologies: A Methodology for Deriving OWL Ontologies from Industrial Categorization Standards

Martin Hepp (Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), University of Innsbruck, Austria)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/jswis.2006010103
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Using Semantic Web technologies for e-business tasks, like product search or content integration, requires ontologies for products and services. Their manual creation is problematic due to (1) the high specificity, resulting in a large number of concepts, and (2) the need for timely ontology maintenance due to product innovation; and due to cost, since building such ontologies from scratch requires significant resources. At the same time, industrial categorization standards, like UNSPSC, eCl@ss, eOTD, or the RosettaNet Technical Dictionary, reflect some degree of consensus and contain a wealth of concept definitions plus a hierarchy. They can thus be valuable input for creating domain ontologies. However, the transformation of existing standards, originally developed for some purpose other than ontology engineering, into useful ontologies is not as straightforward as it appears. In this paper, (1) we argue that deriving products and services ontologies from industrial taxonomies is more feasible than manual ontology engineering; (2) show that the representation of the original semantics of the input standard, especially the taxonomic relationship, is an important modeling decision that determines the usefulness of the resulting ontology; (3) illustrate the problem by analyzing existing ontologies derived from UNSPCS and eCl@ss; (4) present a methodology for creating ontologies in OWL based on the reuse of existing standards; and (5) demonstrate this approach by transforming eCl@ss 5.1 into a practically useful products and services ontology.

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