Ontologies and the Semantic Web

Ontologies and the Semantic Web

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1818-3.ch007
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We mentioned in Chapter 2 that there are fundamental elements that underlie why reasoners might disagree. One of these fundamental elements is the set of concepts that are related to, or necessary for, communication and reasoning in the domain of discourse. It is important that participants in a reasoning community make explicit the concepts that they are employing and have ways of dealing with the evolution of concepts. In finding a way to apply a concept to a new case, the concept itself is altered in a way that is determined by what the community interprets as the necessary impact from this new case. In this chapter, we illustrate that the “evolved” concept then becomes the one that will be applied to future cases. Not only is it important that concepts and their meaning and interpretation are explicit and up-to-date, but also that there is an agreement on and commitment to this explicit formulation of concepts.
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Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?

Chuang Tzu



In computer science and especially in artificial intelligence, ontologies play an important part in representing knowledge, usually about restricted parts of the real world. In knowledge management the representation and organization of knowledge is studied as well as the transfer of knowledge between systems and between agents. These areas are based on formal models for the representation of knowledge and the management and organization of knowledge has been studied in various contexts. When multi-agent systems are used, in order to communicate, the agents involved usually have to represent knowledge using an agreed knowledge model, otherwise there needs to be considerable effort in meaning negotiation (Avery & Yearwood, 2002). The purpose of these models is to facilitate effective communication between the agents or systems by providing a method for an unambiguous representation of the knowledge to be transferred. These restricted knowledge models for a specific domain are often called domain models.

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