Ontology Maturing

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Strands of Knowledge Maturing Support

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Simone Braun
Community-driven & Work-integrated Creation, Use and Evolution of Ontological Knowledge Structures

Abstract The thesis aims to support the collaborative development of ontological knowledge structures by communities of knowledge workers in order to facilitate the organization and sharing of information within their domain. One big challenge for today’s organizations and knowledge workers is the focused discovery of new information that is likely to be interesting and useful in order to generate new knowledge. But it is also the organization thus information that had once be found and identified as such can be rediscovered and shared. This is not only about the information itself but also about the people behind who hold the knowledge and e. g., may quickly provide assistance if there are questions. Knowledge about competencies and capabilities of its employees also is an essential need for an organization and its development. This encompasses activities like team staffing or identifying training needs. Research on ontology-based semantic (web) applications has shown that ontologies are well-suited for organizing and retrieving relevant resources being it people or documents because they connect information resources with machine processable background knowledge. However in practice, ontology-based applications still haven’t made their breakthrough. This might be traced back to the high effort and complexity of ontology development. On the other hand, folksonomy-based systems recently have proven to be agile and user-driven approaches for the same application area. They enable their users to collect, manage and share information resources in an easy and lightweight way. However, their lack of semantics also causes a number of problems plaguing tagging and hampering tag-based retrieval. To that end, this thesis explores how we can combine folksonomy- and ontology-based approaches so that we keep their particular advantages and avoid their disadvantages thus supporting communities of knowledge workers in organizing and maintaining a shared information repository. This is investigated in the application of Social Semantic Bookmarking and Semantic People Tagging. We present Ontology Maturing as a new perspective and conceptual model for the collaborative development of ontological knowledge structures. It supports (1) the development of a shared understanding, (2) the translation of Web 2.0 approaches to ontology engineering for more active participation, (3) the incremental formalization, (4) application-orientation & work-integration and (5) usable evolving models. To that end, we analyze the advantages and challenges of ontologies and ontology-based knowledge organization systems and make a comparison and consolidation of ontology spectra in literature as well as of ontology development methodologies and tools. A conceptual design framework complements the ontology maturing model. It supports software developers in deriving and realizing socio-technical systems that scaffold and guide ontology maturing in the application of Social Semantic Tagging for a given organizational setting. It considers technical as well as non-technical aspects. It organizes and provides methods and tools with that end users without modeling expertise can collaboratively organize their information with ontologies and develop the latter one in a work-integrated way. To that end, we analyze the advantages and challenges of folksonomies and folksonomy-based systems and classify tagging motivations and categories in literature. On this basis, we develop a general definition and model of social semantic tagging and its specializations of social semantic bookmarking and semantic people tagging. The SOBOLEO framework presents a flexible culture-system-fit framework and reference implementation of the conceptual model and conceptual design framework. It provides a configurable and extensible architecture as well as reusable reference data models for social semantic bookmarking and semantic people tagging and competence ontology maturing. The review of related work shows that SOBOLEO is a pioneer for SKOS editors and the first implementation for semantic people tagging ever. Following the methodology of design-based research, the model, conceptual design framework and technical framework have been validated and iteratively improved in nine case studies with more than 250 participants involved.


Simone Braun, Valentin Zacharias
SOBOLEO – Editor and Repository for Living Ontologies
In: d'Aquin, Mathieu and Castro, Alexander García and Lange, Christoph and Viljanen, Kim (eds.): Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Ontology Repository and Editors for the Semantic Work (ORES 2010) at the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2010), 2010

Abstract SOBOLEO is a web based system that enables groups of people to collaboratively develop and use SKOS ontologies and semantically organized information spaces. SOBOLEO supports the development and refinement of living ontologies – i.e. ontologies that are never finished and that are used and developed at the same time. It offers tools to edit the SKOS ontology used and the information space. It also offers interfaces for remote applications to be notified of changes and to change the ontology itself.

Maryam Ramezani, Hans Friedrich Witschel, Simone Braun, Valentin Zacharias
Using Machine Learning to Support Continuous Ontology Development.
In: Cimiano, Philipp and Pinto, Helena Sofia (eds.): EKAW, Lecture Notes in Computer Science vol. 6317, Springer, 2010, pp. 381-390

Simone Braun, Christine Kunzmann, Andreas Schmidt
People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management
In: Randall, David and Salembier, Pascal (eds.): From CSCW to Web2.0: European Developments in Collaborative Design Selected Papers from COOP08, Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Springer, 2010

Abstract Competence Management approaches suggest promising instruments for more effective resource allocation, knowledge management, learning support, and human resource development in general. However, especially on the level of individual employees, such approaches have so far not been able to show sustain-able success on a larger scale. Piloting applications like expert finders have often failed in the long run because of incomplete and outdated data, apart from social and organizational barriers. To overcome these problems, we propose a collabora-tive competence management approach. In this approach, we combine Web 2.0-style bottom-up processes with organizational top-down processes. We addressed this problem as a collaborative ontology construction problem of which the con-ceptual foundation is the Ontology Maturing Process Model. In order to realize the Ontology Maturing Process Model for competence management, we have built the AJAX-based semantic social bookmarking application SOBOLEO that offers task-embedded competence ontology development and an easy-to-use interface. Following evolutionary prototyping within the design-based research methodology we conducted two field experiments in parallel with the system development in order to test the approach of people tagging in general and to explore motivational and social aspects in particular.


Ronald Maier, S. Retzer, Stefan Thalmann
Collaborative Tagging of Knowledge and Learning Resources
In: Mills, Annette and Huff, Sid (eds.): Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS 2008), Christchurch, New Zealand, 3-5 December 2008, 2009, pp. 607-616

Valentin Zacharias, Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt
Social Semantic Bookmarking with SOBOLEO
In: Murugesan, San (eds.): Handbook of Research on Web 2.0, 3.0 and X.0: Technologies, Business, and Social Applications, IGI Global, 2009

Simone Braun, Claudiu Schora, Valentin Zacharias
Semantics to the Bookmarks: A Review of Social Semantic Bookmarking Systems
In: International Conference on Semantic Systems (I-SEMANTICS 2009), Graz, Austria, 2009, pp. 445-454

Abstract In this paper we present a review of systems that follow the novel paradigm of Social Semantic Bookmarking. Social semantic bookmarking allows for the annotation of resources with tags extended by semantic definitions and descriptions that also evolve (collaboratively) within the same system. We analyzed nine different systems that extend social bookmarking in the direction of more semantics; i.e. that enable their users to add semantics to the folksonomy. We studied the systems regarding the realization of the social semantic bookmarking paradigm, the features offered to the users to add semantics, what kind of semantics can be added, and how the system makes use of the semantics. We will present commonalities, main differences and distinctive features, and future trends.


A. Ravenscroft, M. Sagar, E. Baur, P. Oriogun
Social Software & Developing Community Ontologies
In: Hatzipanagos, S. and Warburton, S. (eds.): IGI Global, 2008, pp. 432-450

Ronald Maier, Stefan Thalmann
Institutionalised collaborative tagging as an instrument for managing the maturing learning and knowledge resources
International Journal for Technology Enhanced Learning (IJTEL), vol. 1, no. 1, 2008, pp. 70-84

Abstract Recently, social software and collaborative tagging have received high levels of attention in Internet communities and have also been discussed as interesting approaches to annotate resources and distribute the cumbersome task of designing ontologies from few domain experts to large numbers of users of digital resources. This paper discusses the suitability of collaborative tagging for annotating knowledge and learning resources in the institutionalised setting of businesses and organisations. Specifically, the paper discusses commitment, convergence and coordination issues and presents the results of a multi-round experiment involving 174 Bachelor students at the Innsbruck University School of Management.

Steffen Lohmann, Stefan Thalmann, Andreas Harrer, Ronald Maier
Learner-Generated Annotation of Learning Resources – Lessons from Experiments on Tagging
In: Tochtermann, Klaus and Maurer, Hermann (eds.): Proceedings of I-KNOW ´08, 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management, Graz, Austria, September 3-5, 2008, pp. 304-312

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Andreas Walter, Valentin Zacharias
Using the Ontology Maturing Process Model for Searching, Managing and Retrieving Resources with Semantic Technologies
In: OnTheMove Federated Conferences 2008 (DAO, COOP, GADA, ODBASE), Monterrey, Mexico, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, 2008

Abstract Semantic technologies are very helpful in improving existing systems for searching, managing and retrieving of resources, e.g. image search, bookmarking or expert finder systems. They enhance these systems through background knowledge stored in ontologies. However, in most cases, resources in these systems change very fast. In consequence, they require a dynamic and agile change of underlying ontologies. Also, the formality of these ontologies must fit the users needs and capabilities and must be appropriate and usable. Therefore, a continuous, collaborative and work or task integrated development of these ontologies is required. In this paper, we present how these requirements occur in real world applications and how they are solved and implemented using our Ontology Maturing Process Model.

Simone Braun, Valentin Zacharias, Hans-Jörg Happel
Social Semantic Bookmarking
In: Practical Aspects of Knowledge Management - 7th International Conference, PAKM2008, Yokohama, Japan, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2008

Abstract In this paper we present the novel paradigm of Social Semantic Bookmarking. Social Semantic Bookmarking combines the positive aspects of semantic annotation with those of social bookmarking and tagging while avoiding their respective drawbacks like the cumbersome maintenance of ontologies or the lacking semantic precision of tags. Social semantic bookmarking tools allow for the annotation of internet resources based on an ontology and the integrated maintenance of the ontology by the same people that use it. We introduce Social Semantic Bookmarking and present the SOBOLEO application as an implementation of this paradigm.

Valentin Zacharias, Simone Braun
Tackling the Curse of Prepayment – Collaborative Knowledge Formalization Beyond Lightweight
In: 1st Workshop on Incentives for the Semantic Web (INSEMTIVE), 7th International Semantic Web Conference ISWC2008, October 27th, 2008, Karlsruhe, Germany, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 2008

Abstract This paper argues for collaborative incremental augmentation of text retrieval as an approach that can be used to immediately show the benefits of relatively heavyweight knowledge formalization in the context of Web 2.0 style collaborative knowledge formalization. Such an approach helps to overcome the "Curse of Prepayment"; i.e. the hitherto necessary but very large initial investment in formalization tasks before any benefit of Semantic Web technologies is visible. Some initial ideas about the architecture of such a system are presented and it is placed within the overall emerging trend of "people powered search".

Andrew Ravenscroft, Simone Braun, John Cook, Andreas Schmidt, Jenny Bimrose, Alan Brown, Claire Bradley
Ontologies, Dialogue and Knowledge Maturing: Towards a Mashup and Design Study
In: Schmidt, Andreas and Attwell, Graham and Braun, Simone and Lindstaedt, Stefanie and Maiaer, Ronald and Ras, Eric (eds.): 1st International Workshop on Learning in Enterprise 2.0 and Beyond, CEUR Workshop Proceedings vol. 383, 2008

Abstract This paper proposes an initial design study to examine and test some of the key concepts and issues within a large-scale European research project that is exploring and aiming to realise learning as a process of knowledge maturing in the workplace. It will outline some of these concepts, based on a contemporary (or Web 2.0 driven) articulation of how ontologies can be acquired, externalised and exploited by a user-community and introduce a new role for learning dialogue - through developing work into „dialogue games‟. An initial scenario, or „thought experiment‟, is proposed that is grounded on currently available ontology development (SOBOLEO) and learning dialogue (InterLoc) web-technologies and how these could be integrated, or „mashed up‟, to improve the management, understanding and application of labour market information in the context of careers advice. Finally, we also consider the potential role of m-learning techniques and the implications about context that these give rise to.

Andreas Schmidt, Knut Hinkelmann, Stefanie Lindstaedt, Tobias Ley, Ronald Maier, Uwe Riss
Conceptual Foundations for a Service-Oriented Knowledge & Learning Architecture: Supporting Content, Process, and Ontology Maturing
In: 8th International Conference on Knowledge Management (I-KNOW 08), Graz, 2008

Abstract The knowledge maturing model views learning activities as embedded into, interwoven with, and even indistinguishable from everyday work processes. Learning is understood as an inherently social and collaborative activity. The Knowledge Maturing Process Model structures this process into five phases: expressing ideas, distributing in communities, formalizing, ad-hoc learning and standardization. It is applicable not only for content but also to process knowledge and semantics. In the MATURE IP two toolsets will be develop that support the maturing process: a personal learning environment and an organisation learning environment integrating the levels of individuals, communities and organisation. The development is guided by the SER theory of seeding, evolutionary growth and reseeding and is based on generally applicable maturing services.

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Andreas Walter, Valentin Zacharias
Von Tags zu semantischen Beziehungen: kollaborative Ontologiereifung
In: Gaiser, Birgit and Hampel, Thorsten and Panke, Stefanie (eds.): Good Tags and Bad Tags - Social Tagging in der Wissensorganisation, Medien in der Wissenschaft vol. 47, Waxmann, 2008, pp. 163-173

Abstract Die Popularität von Tagging-Ansätzen hat gezeigt, dass dieses Ordnungsprinzip für Nutzer insbesondere auf kollaborativen Plattformen deutlich zugänglicher ist als strukturierte und kontrollierte Vokabulare. Allerdings stoßen Tagging-Ansätze oft an ihre Grenzen, wo sie keine ausreichende semantische Präzision ausbilden können. Umgekehrt können ontologiebasierte Ansätze zwar die semantische Präzision erreichen, werden jedoch (besonders aufgrund der schwerfälligen Pflegeprozesse) von den Nutzern kaum akzeptiert. Wir schlagen eine Verbindung beider Welten vor, die auf einer neuen Sichtweise auf die Entstehung von Ontologien fußt: die Ontologiereifung. Anhand zweier Werkzeuge aus dem Bereich des Social Semantic Bookmarking und der semantischen Bildsuche zeigen wir, wie Anwendungen aussehen können, die eine solche Ontologiereifung (in die jeweiligen Nutzungsprozesse integriert) ermöglichen und fördern.

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt
People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management
In: 8th International Conference on the Design of Cooperative Systems (COOP '08), Carry-le-Rouet, France, May 20-23, 2008, 2008

Abstract Competence Management approaches, aiming at making transparent individual competencies and their relationship to organizational goals, suggest promising instruments for more effective resource allocation, knowledge management, learning support, and human resource development in general. However, especially on the level of individual employees, such approaches have so far not been able to show sustainable success on a larger scale. Piloting applications like expert finders have often failed in the long run because of incomplete and outdated data, apart from social and organizational barriers. This affects both competency profiles of the individual employee and non-adequate and often also outdated competency catalogs used as a vocabulary for the profiles. To overcome these problems, we propose a collaborative competence management approach. In this approach, we combine Web 2.0-style bottom-up processes with organizational top-down processes: Web 2.0 oriented bottom-up processes allow every employee to participate and contribute with low usage barriers; i.e. by tagging colleagues; the organizational processes take up and guide these bottom-up developments towards organizational goals. Key idea is that we cannot do competence management completely without an agreed vocabulary (or ontology), i.e. the competency catalog, but we have to make the process of evolving this catalog more collaborative and embedded into its actual usage (e.g., while tagging other employees). Likewise, we do not conceive competency profiles as self-descriptions, but rather as results of collective judgments of others. We approached this problem as a collaborative ontology construction problem of which the conceptual foundation is the Ontology Maturing Process Model. In order to realize the Ontology Maturing Process Model for competence management, we have built the AJAX-based semantic social bookmarking application SOBOLEO that offers task-embedded competence ontology development and an easy-to-use interface.


Ronald Maier, Stefan Thalmann
Kollaboratives Tagging zur inhaltlichen Beschreibung von Lern- und Wissensressourcen
In: XML-Tage 2007, Berlin, 2007

Abstract Für die effektive Verwaltung von Lern- und Wissens-Ressourcen in unternehmensweiten Wissensinfrastrukturen sowie deren Verwendung in fortgeschrittenen Lern- und Wissensdiensten werden aussagekräftige Metadaten benötigt. Mit der starken Zunahme von Lern- und Wissensressourcen unterschiedlicher Qualität, Reife und Granularität in Unternehmen und Organisationen wird deren inhaltliche Beschreibung zunehmend herausfordernd, da einerseits die vollautomatische Extraktion keine befriedigenden Ergebnisse liefert und professionelle Metadatenautoren überlastet sind. In diesem Beitrag wird der Einsatz des kollaborativen Tagging zur inhaltlichen Beschreibung von Ressourcen im organisatorischen Umfeld diskutiert. Dazu werden Lern- und Wissensressourcen, Metadaten und der Ansatz des kollaborativen Taggings reflektiert. Im Rahmen eines Mehrrunden-Laborexperiments werden Fragen der Handhabung dieses Ansatzes in Organisationen untersucht. Dies betrifft insbesondere die gemeinschaftliche Anerkennung von Schlagworten (commitment), die Dynamik zugeordneter Schlagworte (convergence) und die Beeinflussbarkeit des Verschlagwortungsprozesses (coordination).

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Andreas Walter, Valentin Zacharias
The Ontology Maturing Approach to Collaborative and Work-Integrated Ontology Development: Evaluation Results and Future Directions
In: International Workshop on Emergent Semantics and Ontology Evolution (ESOE), ISWC 2007, Busan/Korea, 2007

Abstract Ontology maturing as a conceptual process model is based on the assumption that ontology engineering is a continuous collaborative and informal learning process and always embedded in tasks that make use of the ontology to be developed. For supporting ontology maturing, we need lightweight and easy-to-use tools integrating usage and construction processes of ontologies. Within two applications – ImageNotion for semantic annotation of images and SOBOLEO for semantically enriched social bookmarking – we have shown that such ontology maturing support is feasible with the help of Web 2.0 technologies. In this paper, we want to present the conclusions from two evaluation sessions with end users and summarize requirements for further development.

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Andreas Walter, Gabor Nagypal, Valentin Zacharias
Ontology Maturing: a Collaborative Web 2.0 Approach to Ontology Engineering
In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Social and Collaborative Construction of Structured Knowledge at the 16th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 07), Banff, Canada, 2007

Abstract Most of the current methodologies for building ontologies rely on specialized knowledge engineers. This is in contrast to real-world settings, where the need for maintenance of domain specific ontologies emerges in the daily work of users. But in order to allow for participatory ontology engineering, we need to have a more realistic conceptual model of how ontologies develop in the real world. We introduce the ontology maturing processes which is based on the insight that ontology engineering is a collaborative informal learning process and for which we analyze characteristic evolution steps and triggers that have users engage in ontology engineering within their everyday work processes. This model integrates tagging and folksonomies with formal ontologies and shows maturing pathways between them. As implementations of this model, we present two case studies and the corresponding tools. The first is about image-based ontology engineering (introducing so-called imagenotions), the second about ontology-enabled social bookmarking (SOBOLEO). Both of them are inspired by lightweight Web 2.0 approaches and allow for realtime collaboration.

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Valentin Zacharias
Ontology Maturing with Lightweight Collaborative Ontology Editing Tools
In: Gronau, Norbert (eds.): 4th Conference on Professional Knowledge Management - Experiences and Visions, Workshop on Productive Knowledge Work (ProKW 07), GITO, 2007, pp. 217-226

Abstract Ontology building is an important prerequisite for state-of-the-art semantic technologies for knowledge worker support. But ontology engineering methods have so far neglected the early phase of ontology building where a conceptualization only exists rather informally and underlies continuous evolution through collaboration and interaction within the community. We have to view ontology building as a maturing process that requires collaborative editing support and the integration into the daily work processes of knowledge workers. In spirit of current Web 2.0 applications, we present an AJAX-based lightweight ontology editor as a first approach to this problem.

Simone Braun, Andreas Schmidt, Valentin Zacharias
SOBOLEO: vom kollaborativen Tagging zur leichtgewichtigen Ontologie
In: Gross, Tom (eds.): Mensch & Computer - 7. Fachübergreifende Konferenz - M&C 2007, Oldenbourg Verlag, 2007, pp. 209-218

Abstract Bisher gibt es kein integriertes Werkzeug, das sowohl die kollaborative Erstellung eines Indexes relevanter Internetressourcen („Social Bookmarking“) als auch einer gemeinsamen Ontologie, die zur Organisation des Indexes genutzt wird, integriert unterstützt. Derzeitige Werkzeuge gestatten entweder die Erstellung einer Ontologie oder die Strukturierung von Ressourcen entsprechend einer vorgegebenen, unveränderlichen Ontologie bzw. ganz ohne jegliche Struktur. In dieser Arbeit zeigen wir, wie sich kollaboratives Tagging und kollaborative Ontologieentwicklung vereinen lassen, so dass jeweilige Schwächen vermieden werden und die Stärken einander ergänzen. Wir präsentieren SOBOLEO, ein System, das kollaborativ und web-basiert die Erstellung, Erweiterung und Pflege von Ontologien und gemeinsamer Lesezeichensammlung ermöglicht und gleichzeitig die Annotierung von Internetressourcen mit Konzepten aus der erstellten Ontologie unterstützt.