Oil an ontology infrastructure for the semantic web
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OIL: An Ontology Infrastructure for the Semantic Web. D. Fensel, F. van Harmelen, I. Horrocks, D. L. McGuinness, P. F. Patel-Schneider Presenter: Cristina Nicolae. Ontologies. “An ontology is a formal , explicit specification of a shared conceptualization .”

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OIL: An Ontology Infrastructure for the Semantic Web

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Oil an ontology infrastructure for the semantic web

OIL: An Ontology Infrastructure for the Semantic Web

D. Fensel, F. van Harmelen, I. Horrocks,

D. L. McGuinness, P. F. Patel-Schneider

Presenter: Cristina Nicolae



  • “An ontology is a formal, explicit specification of a sharedconceptualization.”

    • conceptualization: abstract model of some phenomenon in the world that identifies that phenomenon’s relevant concepts

    • explicit: the type of concepts used and the constraints on their use are explicitly defined

    • formal: the ontology should be machine understandable

    • shared: an ontology captures consensual knowledge (accepted by a group)

Applications of ontology technology 1 3

Applications of ontology technology (1/3)

  • Knowledge management

    • acquiring, maintaining and accessing an organization’s knowledge

    • weaknesses:

      • searching information (irrelevant word in other context)

      • extracting information (lack commonsense knowledge)

      • maintaining (large sources)

      • automatic document generation (require a machine-accessible representation of the semantics of info sources)

    • future solution:

      • semantic annotations

Applications of ontology technology 2 3

Applications of ontology technology (2/3)

  • Web commerce

    • online stores, shopping agents, online marketplaces, auction houses

    • get information from several stores through wrappers – which use keyword search to find product info

    • limitations:

      • effort (writing wrapper for each online store is time-consuming + changes in store)

      • quality (info extracted is limited, error-prone and incomplete)

    • future solution:

      • software agents to understand product information

Applications of ontology technology 3 3

Applications of ontology technology (3/3)

  • Electronic business

    • e-commerce in business-to-business field

    • protocol (standard): the UN Edifact

    • shortcomings:

      • procedural and cumbersome standard

      • programming of business transactions expensive and error-prone

      • large maintenance efforts

      • an isolated standard

    • future solution:

      • using the Internet’s infrastructure for business exchange

Oil an ontology infrastructure for the semantic web


  • HTML: initial, simplistic

  • XML: provides serialized syntax for trees

  • RDF: defines a syntactical convention and a simple data model – triples: object/property/value

  • RDF Schema: introduces basic ontological primitives into the Web – classes, subclasses, subproperties, restrictions..

  • OIL: based on RDFS, enriched into a full-fledged Web-based ontology language

Criteria that oil matches

Criteria that OIL matches

  • We need an advanced ontology language to express and represent ontologies. Must be:

    • highly intuitive to the human:

      • OIL frame-based

        • central modeling primitives are classes (frames) with attributes

    • well-defined formal semantics (completeness, correctness and efficiency)

      • OIL description logics

        • knowledge is described in terms of concepts and role restrictions

    • proper link to existing Web languages (XML, RDF)

      • OIL  syntax in XML, based on RDF

        • a standardized syntax for writing ontologies and a standard set of modeling primitives

Oil s layered architecture

OIL’s layered architecture

  • Each layer adds functionality and complexity to the previous one

  • Core OIL: coincides with RDFS except reification features

  • Standard OIL: specifying the semantics and making complete inferences viable

  • Instance OIL: full-fledged database capability

  • Heavy OIL: will include additional representational and reasoning capabilities

An ontology

An ontology

Oil tools

OIL tools

  • Ontology editors

    • build new ontologies

      • OntoEdit (U. Karlsruhe), OILed (U. Manchester), Protégé (Stanford)

  • Ontology-based annotation tools

    • we can derive an XML DTD and an XML Schema definition from an ontology in OIL

    • we can derive an RDF and RDFS definition for instances from OIL

  • Reasoning with ontologies

    • reason about an ontology’s instances and schema definition

      • FaCT

Applications of oil

Applications of OIL

  • Swiss Life: Organizational memory

    • an intranet-based front end to an organizational memory

  • British Telecom: Call centers

    • call center agents use a variety of electronic sources for information when interacting with customers  OIL provides front end tool

  • EnerSearch: Virtual enterprise

    • is a virtual organization researching new IT-based business strategies and customer services in deregulated energy markets  OIL toolkit enhances knowledge transfer.

Conclusions on oil

Conclusions on OIL

  • is properly grounded in Web languages (XML Schemas & RDFS)

  • inner layers enable efficient reasoning support based on FaCT

  • has a well-defined formal semantics

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