Negotiating Domain Ontologies in Distributed Organizational Memories

Ludger van Elst and Andreas Abecker

Organizational Memory Information Systems (OMIS) have a strong need to represent shared understanding of various actors in the information landscape. Ontologies are widely seen as an adequate means for this purpose. In the FRODO project we develop an agent-based framework for Distributed Organizational Memories, and one important type of agent in the framework are agents responsible for managing domain ontologies (Domain Ontology Agents, DOA). The process of establishing shared conceptualizations in our framework takes place on three levels: i) A DOA collects evidence that a portion of knowledge might be sharable among a group of actors. ii) The DOA coordinates a negotiation procedure between the relevant actors. iii) Ontology Societies explicitly reflect the sharing scope of the knowledge managed by a DOA. These societies are grounded on the rights and obligations of the actors with respect to a specific domain ontology. The integration of all three levels is a cornerstone of FRODO’s approach to support a full ontology lifecycle in a distributed environment. Our actual research focus is the elaboration of level i). In particular, we are working on an instance-based approach for finding ontology overlaps on the basis of text analysis techniques.

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