Knowledge Systems Laboratory
Stanford University

Abstract: Towards A Commercial Ontology Development Environment

While research in knowledge representation, ontologies, and related environments has a rich history, interest is just beginning to extend to the broader business community. Emerging applications in collaboration, application integration, web services, and content management require large, complex ontologies that must be built and maintained by distributed teams. Because such ontologies can be difficult even for experts to build, the need for a new generation of commercial-grade tools supporting knowledge sharing and collaborative ontology development is becoming increasingly urgent.

Current ontology development systems such as Ontolingua and Chimaera, Protégé, and LOOM have emerged from the knowledge representation research community. Unfortunately, most are not widely known outside the artificial intelligence arena and their use requires significant understanding of knowledge representation languages and methodologies. On the other hand, commercial methodologies for object-oriented analysis, design, and implementation such as the Object Management Group's Unified Modeling Language (UML) have become industry standards and have a rapidly growing user community.

Sandpiper Software is developing key components of a model-driven interoperability framework designed to support collaboration in a highly distributed, heterogeneous environment; namely, a suite of tools designed to resolve ambiguity issues, terminology conflicts, and other complex information sharing issues. The Company's solutions are based on knowledge representation, information brokering, and intelligent agents, as well as component and standards-based software engineering best practices and methodologies. Key drivers for Sandpiper's innovative approach include scalability, flexibility, and commercial quality well beyond the capabilities of LISP and PROLOG-based tools, as well as support for distributed development, integration with best-in-class configuration management tools, and ease-of-use by domain subject-matter experts.

This paper and associated poster describe the Sanpiper ToolSuite.

Elisa F. Kendall, Mark E. Dutra, and Deborah L. McGuinness. ``Towards A Commercial Ontology Development Environment''. In the Proceedings of the International Semantic Web Conference Late-Breaking Topics. Sardinia, Italy, June 9-12, 2002. abstract. The word version of the submitted paper is available.

Return to Selected Papers of Deborah L. McGuinness.

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