Ontology Translation for Interoperability Among Semantic Web Services

  • Mark H. Burstein
  • Drew V. McDermott


Research on semantic web services promises greater interoperability among software agents and web services by enabling content-based automated service discovery and interaction and by utilizing . Although this is to be based on use of shared ontologies published on the semantic web, services produced and described by different developers may well use different, perhaps partly overlapping, sets of ontologies. Interoperability will depend on ontology mappings and architectures supporting the associated translation processes. The question we ask is, does the traditional approach of introducing mediator agents to translate messages between requestors and services work in such an open environment? This article reviews some of the processing assumptions that were made in the development of the semantic web service modeling ontology OWL-S and argues that, as a practical matter, the translation function cannot always be isolated in mediators. Ontology mappings need to be published on the semantic web just as ontologies themselves are. The translation for service discovery, service process model interpretation, task negotiation, service invocation, and response interpretation may then be distributed to various places in the architecture so that translation can be done in the specific goal-oriented informational contexts of the agents performing these processes. We present arguments for assigning translation responsibility to particular agents in the cases of service invocation, response translation, and matchmaking.