Knowledge Mediation: A Procedure for the Cooperative Construction of Domain Ontologies

Felix-Robinson Aschoff; Franz Schmalhofer; Ludger van Elst
In: Andreas Abecker; Ludger van Elst; Virginia Dignum (Hrsg.). Proceedings of the ECAI-2004 Workshop on Agent-mediated Knowledge Management (AMKM-2004). AAMAS Workshop on Agent-mediated Knowledge Management (AMKM-2004), August 22, Valencia, Spain, Pages 29-38, 2004.


In order to enable knowledge sharing and reuse among software entities, artificial intelligence researchers have proposed to develop ‘ontologies’ as the explicit formal specifications of conceptualizations. These ontologies were normally designed by knowledge engineers who laid down the basic categories and relations for a certain domain. However, in any practical setting there will be conflicting interests which pertain to different conceptualizations of which a knowledge engineer will usually not be aware of. For this reason, we propose a three-phased ontology construction procedure in which the knowledge engineer mediates between the differing conceptions experts or users may hold about a knowledge domain. This procedure is described in detail in this paper and subsequently empirically demonstrated and evaluated in a study with 28 participants. The evaluation reveals convincing advantages of the proposed knowledge mediation procedure. We conclude that an ontology construction process is not only an engineering task but more importantly also a social process where the relevant parties for example of a work place need to be involved before successful and durable solutions can be found.

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