[crm-sig] Introductory article about ontology development

Tony Gill tony_gill at notes.rlg.org
Thu Jul 26 01:36:33 EEST 2001

An good introductory article about ontology development was cited in our 
new weekly newsletter ShelfLife recently: Ontology Development 101: A 
Guide to Creating Your First Ontology, by Natalya F. Noy  and Deborah L. 

They use an example wine ontology to explain the generic ontology design 
principles in a clear & understandable way. Perhaps we should consider 
having a separate (and easy-to-find) section on the CRM-SIG website for 
introductory and tutorial type materials and links.

Since these folks are just down the road at Stanford, I'll drop them a 
line and let them know about the CRM work.


Tony Gill <> tony.gill at notes.rlg.org
Research Libraries Group <> http://www.rlg.org/
1200 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041 USA
Voice: +1 (650) 691-2304 <> Fax: +1 (650) 964-1461

----- Forwarded by Tony Gill/RLG on 25/07/2001 02:11 PM -----

"RLG" <editors at notes.rlg.org>
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28/06/2001 07:33 AM
Please respond to "Editors"

        To:     "Multiple recipients of ShelfLife" <shelflife-from-rlg at lists2.rlg.org>
        Subject:        ShelfLife, No. 8 (28 June 2001)

ShelfLife, No. 8 (28 June 2001)

ShelfLife, a weekly executive news summary for information professionals,
is a free service of RLG, the not-for-profit membership corporation of 
than 160 universities, national libraries, archives, museums -- and other
institutions with remarkable collections for research and learning. RLG 
created in 1974 as the Research Libraries Group. ShelfLife provides 
for RLG's major initiatives, which celebrate the power of knowledge to
grow, to live, and to last.

        New Specification Enhances XML
        Ontology Guide Available Online

        Digital Technology Brings Dinosaurs to Life
        The Coming Convergence of Documents and Content

        Keeping Librarians Relevant
        The P2P Community is Growing
        Shared Access Technologies Enhance Working Options
        New Weapons in the Fight to Protect Intellectual Property
        New DRM Demands Interoperability Standards

        'America's Chronicles' to Preserve Newspaper History
        Promise of Electronic Books Finally Becoming Reality


The versatile and widely used extensible markup language (XML) is getting
more powerful and more versatile with the impending release of the XML
schema language, used for describing the legal structure, content and
constraints of XML documents. While the specification hasn't been 
yet, it promises to greatly enhance XML. Structured somewhat like the data
definition language (DDL) that's used in setting up relational databases,
it provides a framework for the various elements and attributes of an XML
document. And it is more powerful and comprehensive than document type
definition (DTD). Unlike DTDs, the XML schema language provides the rich
data typing associated with ordinary programming languages and defines
several different built-in data types, such as string, integer, boolean,
date and time. It also allows for defining new types. Developers can use
these built-in as well as user-defined data types to effectively define 
constrain XML document attributes and element values. Another key feature
is that it supports inheritance, allowing users to create new schemas by
deriving features from existing ones, as well as override derived features
when new ones are required. This encourages software reuse and helps
developers avoid building everything from scratch again and again. It
significantly improves XML software development process, code
maintainability and programmer productivity. (Computer.org Mar-Apr 2001)

More and more organizations and disciplines of study are creating their 
ontologies for more efficient Web searches. Among other benefits,
ontologies -- explicit formal specifications of the terms in the domain 
relations among them -- allow users to share a common understanding of the
structure of information among people or software agents. Ontologies may 
highly specific, such as those in the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency and medicine, or created for more general usage. For example, the
United Nations Development Program and Dun & Bradstreet combined efforts 
develop the UNSPSC ontology, which provides terminology for products and
services. To help sort out the whys and hows, two Stanford University
authors have published something of a beginner's guide to creating a 
and usable ontology (available at the URL below). The guide describes an
ontology-development methodology for declarative frame-based systems (they
used Protege 2000), lists steps in the development process and addresses
the complex issues of defining class hierarchies and properties of classes
and instances. The authors note there is no single correct ontology for 
domain. Ontology design is a creative process and no two ontologies
designed by different people would be the same. The potential applications
and a designer's understanding and view of the domain will undoubtedly
affect ontology design choices. (Ontology Development 101: A Guide to
Creating Your First Ontology, Stanford University)

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