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Overcoming the Multiple Islands of Ontologies

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Masaryk University Brno


One of the major challenges facing ecologists today is the problem of obtaining sufficient amounts of information pertaining to widespread ecological phenomena. While the physical information and data networking does not pose a great challenge using today’s technologies, the difficulties start when one tries to describe the metadata pertaining to the data in such a manner that other users of this data can exactly ascertain how the data was collected (where, how, who) and how it may be validly analyzed. In order to structure the available data and metadata, one is turning to the use of ontologies. As ecology, like all sciences, is not a static field, new ideas, methods and procedures are continually being introduced. This means that an ontology designed to structure data for this field must be extendable in order to adapt to emerging requirements. In order to meet these needs, we propose a procedure for the collaborative creation and extension of ontologies. By further splitting the ontology into a (relatively static) core ontology supplemented by various domain ontologies, it is possible for multiple communities to independently extend their domain ontologies without disrupting work on other domain ontologies. Thus, a flexible but stable system can be defined which meets the needs for dynamic extension while retaining the stability required for a large scale network.


Katharina, Schleidt; Herbert, Schentz; Michael, Mirtl (2005): Overcoming the Multiple Islands of Ontologies. Informatics for Environmental Protection - Networking Environmental Information. Brno: Masaryk University Brno. Knowledge management and decision support systems. Brno. 2005