Coping with Changing Ontologies in a Distributed Environment

AAAI Conferences 

We discuss the problems associated with versioning ontologies in distributed environments. This is an important issue because ontologies can be of great use in structuring and querying intemet information, but many of the Intemet's characteristics, such as distributed ownership, rapid evolution, and heterogeneity, make ontology management difficult. We present SHOE, a web-based knowledge representation language that supports multiple versions of ontologies. We then discuss the features of SHOE that address ontology versioning, the affects of ontology revision on SHOE web pages, and methods for implementing ontology integration using SHOE's extension and version mechanisms. 1. Introduction As the use of ontologies becomes more prevalent, there is a more pressing need for good ontology management schemes. This is especially true once an ontology has been used to structure data, since changing it can be very expensive. Often the solution is to "get it right the first time", however, in long term applications, there is always the chance that new information will be discovered or that different features of the domain will become important. Therefore, we must think of ontology development as an ongoing process. In a centralized environment, it may be possible to coordinate ontology revisions with corresponding revisions to the data that was structured using the ontology. However, as the volume of data increases this become more difficult.