Bao, Jie, Caragea, Doina and Honavar, Vasant (2006) Towards Collaborative Environments for Ontology Construction and Sharing. In Proceedings the 2006 International Symposium on Collaborative Technologies and Systems., Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Ontologies that explicitly identify objects, properties, and relationships of interest in specific domains of inquiry
are essential for collaborations that involve sharing of data, knowledge, or resources (e.g., web services) among
autonomous individuals or groups in open environments. In such a setting, there is a need for software that supports
collaboration among groups with different expertise in developing complex ontologies, selective sharing of parts of
existing ontologies, and construction of application or domain specific ontologies from a collection of available
ontology modules. Against this background, this paper motivates the need for collaborative environments for ontology
construction, sharing, and usage; identifies the desiderata of such environments; and proposes package based
description logics (P-DL) that extend classic description logic (DL) based ontology languages to support modularity and
(selective) knowledge hiding. In P-DL, each ontology consists of packages (or modules) with well-defined interfaces.
Each package encapsulates a closely related set of terms and relations between terms. Together, these terms and
relations represent the ontological commitments about a small, coherent part of the universe of discourse. Packages can
be hierarchically nested, thereby imposing an organizational structure on the ontology. Package-based ontologies also
allow creators of packages to exert control over the visibility of each term or relation within the package thereby
allowing the selective sharing (or conversely, hiding) of ontological commitments captured by a package.
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