Ontologies and the Semantic Web: Problems and Perspectives for LIS Professionals
Tennis, Joseph T.
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Many years have passed since Berners-Lee envi- sioned the Web as it should be (1999), but still many information professionals do not know their precise role in its development, especially con- cerning ontologies –considered one of its main elements. Why? May it still be a lack of under- standing between the different academic commu- nities involved (namely, Computer Science, Lin- guistics and Library and Information Science), as reported by Soergel (1999)? The idea behind the Semantic Web is that of several technologies working together to get optimum information re- trieval performance, which is based on proper resource description in a machine-understandable way, by means of metadata and vocabularies (Greenberg, Sutton and Campbell, 2003). This is obviously something that Library and Information Science professionals can do very well, but, are we doing enough? When computer scientists put on stage the ontology paradigm they were asking for semantically richer vocabularies that could support logical inferences in artificial intelligence as a way to improve information retrieval systems. Which direction should vocabulary development take to contribute better to that common goal? The main objective of this paper is twofold: 1) to identify main trends, issues and problems con- cerning ontology research and 2) to identify pos- sible contributions from the Library and Information Science area to the development of ontologies for the semantic web. To do so, our paper has been structured in the following manner. First, the methodology followed in the paper is reported, which is based on a thorough literature review, where main contributions are analysed. Then, the paper presents a discussion of the main trends, issues and problems concerning ontology re- search identified in the literature review. Recom- mendations of possible contributions from the Library and Information Science area to the devel- opment of ontologies for the semantic web are finally presented.
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