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Ontological Engineering: with examples from the areas of Knowledge Management, e-Commerce and the Semantic Web. First Edition (Advanced Information and Knowledge Processing)
Published by: stovokor (Karma: 1757.45) on 2 October 2008 | Views: 2085
The word `ontology' is usually associated with philosophical speculation on the reality of things, and if one checks the literature on philosophy one will find a diverse number of opinions on this reality. Engineers and scientists typically view philosophical musings on any topic as being impractical, and indulging oneself in these musings will cause one to lose sight of the topic or problem at hand. Rather than simplify the problem and make it understandable, philosophy tends in most cases to complicate it by endless debate on definitions and the use of sophisticated rhetoric that seems to have no bearing on the problem at hand. The conceptual spaces generated by these debates can become gigantic and therefore unwieldy, thus making the problem appear more complex than it actually is.
In the information age however, ontology has become a word that has taken on enormous practical significance. Business and scientific research are both areas that have increasingly relied on information technology not only to organize information but also to analyze data and make accurate predictions. In addition, financial constraints have forced many businesses to automate most of their internal processes, and this automation has brought about its own unique challenges. This push to automation usually involves being able to differentiate one thing from another, or one collection of data from another, or one concept from another. Thus one needs to think about questions of ontology, and this (very practical) need has brought about the rise of the field of `ontological engineering', which is the topic of this book.
The authors have given a good general overview of the different approaches to the creation of ontologies. There are many of them, some of which seem "natural", while others seem more esoteric. The reader though will obtain an objective discussion of the ontologies that the authors chose to include in the book. Discussions of the ones that are not included can readily be found on the Internet.