Each organization of more than a few persons generates a number of documents containing information about the activities of the organization. The sum of these documents provides a kind of organizational memory that can be used both in evaluations of past performance and as the basis of future planning based on previous experience.

Unfortunately, the nature of these documents mitigates against the reuse of information for purposes other than those for which each document was originally intended. To locate all the information about some aspect of the organization, it frequently becomes necessary for human beings to search a mass of documents to manually extract and collate all text related to the problem at hand. It would be advantageous if a software system could be used to find all relevant information and assemble it into a single document for input to the planning or evaluation process. But the current document-centric approach to information organization limits the functionality and utility of such a software system.

The Semantic Web Knowledge Management research project being undertaken by the Collaborative Agent Design Research Center (CADRC) at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo postulates that a more useful organizational memory can be created by separating the information from the structure imposed when that information is embedded in specific documents. We propose a system that allows users to create informational units rather than documents. Document structure is specified by objects outside the units themselves, enabling the reuse of information in multiple documents while maintaining the referential integrity of each organizational unit.

Project researchers in the CADRC Center are working towards the production of a test-bed system to explore various approaches to information entry and retrieval. To support such a system, they have defined a preliminary information structure known as an ontology using the semantic web language OWL (OWL 2004, Antoniou and Harmelen 2004). Tests on the use of this ontology as the basis of the system are ongoing.

This report of research completed under C3RP funding during FY04-05 discusses the information needs and representational approach for a knowledge management system using semantic web technologies.


Software Engineering



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cadrc/52