Knowledge Annotation Initiative
of the
Knowledge Acquisition Community

V. Richard Benjamins1, 3, Dieter Fensel2, Asuncion Gomez-Perez4, Stefan Decker2, Michael Erdmann2, Enrico Motta5 and Mark Musen6

1Dept. of Social Science Informatics (SWI), University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands,
2University of Karlsruhe, Institute AIFB, Germany,
3Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA), Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Spain
4Faculdad de Informatica, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Spain,
5KMI, Open University, United Kingdom,
6Stanford University, Section on Medical Informatics, USA,

"Ask not what the community can do for you.
Ask what you can do for the community!"

1 Introduction

The Knowledge Annotation Initiative of the Knowledge Acquisition Community (KA)2 is an initiative officially launched at EKAW-97 to develop an ontology that models the knowledge acquisition community (its researchers, topics, products, etc.). This ontology will form the basis to annotate WWW documents of the knowledge acquisition community in order to enable intelligent access to these documents. (KA)2 is an open joint-initiative where the participants are actively involved in (i) a distributive ontological engineering process to model the knowledge acquisition community (a domain ontology), and (ii) annotating webpages relevant for the KA community (the instances of the domain ontology).

(KA)2 aims at "intelligent" knowledge retrieval from the Web and automatic derivation of "new" knowledge. In other words, it aims at knowledge-based reasoning on the Web, as opposed to the more usual information retrieval. Another objective of the initiative concerns a distributive ontological engineering process.

2 Research issues

There are three research topics involved in the initiative.

2.1 Ontological engineering

The knowledge acquisition community has to build its own ontology. This will be done in a distributive manner, using the Ontolingua environment. The current version of the ontology can be viewed at the European mirror site of the Ontolingua server of Stanford University. To view the ontology, login as "ontologias-ka2" with password "adieu007". The ontology for the KA community consists of seven related ontologies: an organisation ontology, a project ontology, a person ontology, a research-topic ontology, a publication ontology, an event ontology and a research-product ontology. At the moment (March 1998), we are organising the process how to establish a more definitive version of the ontology. The process will be collaborative and distributed.

2.2 Annotation of web pages

The instances of the ontology have to be provided by so-called "provider agents". Instances appear distributively at the relevant web pages of each provider agent. Web pages are annotated using a new HTML tag, called ONTO. Enclosing web information within this tag makes the information accessible for an ontology-based webcrawler (see below). Examples of annotated web pages can be found at all provider agents. Instructions on how to annotate web pages are also available. The process of how to annotate the web pages of the knowledge acquisition community is still an open issue. There are several possibilities, ranging from one responsible person offering an annotation service to each provider agent taking care of its own pages. Provider agents have to register at the Ontocrawler by sending it a URL of an index file listing the URLs of all annotated web pages.

2.3 Ontocrawler

Given a query, an ontology-based webcrawler (Ontocrawler) has to access the web pages and use the ontology to provide answers. Depending on how rich the ontology is (e.g. the amount of inferencing allowing axioms), Ontocrawler can also deduce "new" information, that is not explicitly stored on the Web. Notice that such inferencing is very common in knowledge-based systems, but not at all for web search engines. Ontocrawler can be accessed at the University of Karlsruhe, and is part of the Ontobroker project. At Ontobroker, provider agents can register and update their web pages so that these will be considered by Ontocrawler. Ontocrawler takes user queries and responds with answers. Ontocrawler reasons with FLogic (Frame Logic), a formal language to represent frames (classes, attributes, values). Because the ontology is built in Ontolingua, translators need to establish the relation between Ontolingua and FLogic. Ontolingua has been used for "visibility" reasons, and because it provides a hypertext environment enabling easy inspection.

3 Agents involved in (KA)2

There are several agent communities involved for getting the (KA)2 initiative started, keeping it going, assuring its scientific content, making it a global collaborative effort and attracting industrial interest: coordinating agents, provider agents, ontopic agents, wise agents and business agents.

3.1 The coordinating agents

Coordinating agents are responsible for the daily matters of the initiative.

Name Institution Agent type Email
Asuncion Gomez-Perez Faculdad de Informatica, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid Ontology agent
Enrico Motta KMI, Open University, United Kingdom Webtool agent
Richard Benjamins IIIA-CSIC, Spain and
SWI-UvA, the Netherlands
Managing agent
Dieter Fensel Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe, Germany Recruiting agent
Michael Erdmann Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe, Germany Annotation agent
Stefan Decker Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe, Germany Ontobroker agent
Mark Musen Stanford University, Section on Medical Informatics, USA "Window on USA" agent

3.2 The wise agents

Wise agents are concerned with the scientific issues involved in the initiative.

Name Institution Email
Bob Wielinga SWI-UvA, the Netherlands
Rudi Studer Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe, Germany
Bill Swartout ISI, University of Southern California
B. Chandrasekaran Ohio State University
James Hendler University of Maryland, USA
Brian Gaines University of Calgary, Canada

3.3 The provider agents

Provider agents provide the initiative with instances of the ontology. In other words, they have to annotate their web pages, using the KA ontology. At the kick-off meeting during EKAW'97, the following groups and people committed themselves to be a provider agent. The recruiting agent is responsible for attracting more researchers and groups.

Name Institution
Andreas Abecker DFKI, Germany
Nathalie Aussenac IRIT, Univ. Paul Sabatier, France
Maillet-Contoz LIRMM, France
Hans Akkermans University Twente, the Netherlands
Sean Wallis Univ. College, London, United Kingdom
Robin Boswell, Susan Craw Robert Gordon Univ., United Kingdom
Enrico Motta KMI, Open Univ., United Kingdom
Enric Plaza, Richard Benjamins IIIA-CSIC, Spain
Christine Pierret Univ. Rennes, France
Karlsruhe gang AIFB, Univ. Karlsruhe, Germany
B. Chandrasekaran Ohio State University, USA
Asuncion Gomez Technical University of Madrid, Spain
Bob Wielinga, Richard Benjamins SWI, Univ. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Nigel Shadbolt Univ. of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Paul Compton, Tim Menzies University of New South Wales, Australia
Derek Sleeman University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Jan Treur, Frances Brazier, Niek Wijngaards, Frank van Harmelen, Annette ten Teije Free Univ. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

How to become a provider agent

Clearly, this initiative can only succeed through active participation of the community. So we welcome each member of the KA community to join (KA)2. Please send an email to the recruiting agent in case you want to join our initiative.

3.4 The ontopic agents

Ontopic agents (from ontology topic) are researchers that contribute to the ontological engineering process to establish a consensual ontology of the KA community. This process is a collaborative effort of the KA community. There are about 15 groups of ontopic agents, each group being responsible for a particular research topic of KA. The following researchers form the ontopic agents group, along with the respective research topics.

Name Institution Ontology topic interest
Andreas Abecker
Rose Dieng

Stefan Decker
DFKI, Germany
INRIA-Sophia, France
AIFB, Univ. of Karlsruhe Germany
Knowledge Management, Corporate Memories, Enterprise modeling
Enrico Motta
Mark Musen
KMI, Open Univ., UK
SMI, Stanford Univ.
Problem-Solving Methods
Hans Akkermans

Asuncion Gomez Perez
Univ. Twente, the Netherlands
UPM, Univ. Madrid, Spain
Jan Treur, Catholijn Jonker, Frances Brazier AI Group, Free Univ., The Netherlands Agent-Oriented Approaches

Frank van Harmelen, Anntette ten Teije

AI Group, Free Univ., The Netherlands

Validation and Verification
Frank van Harmelen, Anntette ten Teije AI Group, Free Univ., The Netherlands Specification languages
Dieter Fensel

Richard Benjamins

AIFB, Univ. Karlsruhe, Germany
SWI, Univ of Amsterdam
Guus Schreiber SWI, Univ. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands Sisyphus-II
Nigel Shadbolt Univ. of Nottingham, UK Sisyphus-III
Rob Kremer, Brian Gaimes Univ. of Calgary, Canada Sisyphus-IV
Paul Compton, Tim Menzies University of New South Wales, Australia Ripple-down rules
Derek Sleeman

Maarten van Someren

Enric Plaza

Robin Boswell, Susan Craw

University of Aberdeen, UK
SWI, Univ. of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Robert Gordon Univ., UK
Knowlegde Acquisition through Machine Learning
Udo Hahn

Fernando Gomez

Univ. of Freiburg, Germany
Univ. of Central Florida
Knowledge Acquisition from Natural Language
Henrik Eriksson
Frank Maurer
Linkoping Univ., Sweden
Univ. of Kaiserslautern
Distributed Modeling over the Internet
Dickson Lukose Univ. of Calgary KA through Conceptual Graphs

How to become an ontopic agent

If you are interested in becoming an ontopic agent, send an email to the managing agent, indicating to what the part of the ontology you want to contribute.

3.5 The business Agents

Business agents are responsible for exploring the possibility of external funding of the initiative and raising the interest of possible interested industries.

Name Institution Email
Annejet Meijler Intelligent Systems Lab Amsterdam-UvA, the Netherlands

4. Agenda of the initiative

In order to get the initiative started, an agenda has been setup with the most urgent things to be done.

Activity Responsible Agent Deadline
Establish a mailing list including all agents. Maintain mail archive Webtool agent Done at Nov. 25, 1997.
Provide ontopic agents with useful webtools Webtool agent as soon as groups are organised
Get minimal amount of research groups (provider agents) involved. Recruiting agent done
Annotate web pages Annotation agent, provider agents two weeks after having registered as provider agent
Improving Ontobroker developed at Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe Ontobroker agent open
Look for interested industries, companies Business agents open
Suggest international project proposal for the initiative (Esprit, DARPA, etc.) Wise agents open

4.1 Ongoing activities

To keep the initiative going, several ongoing activities have to be taken care of.

Activity Responsible Agent
Maintain mail archive Webtool agent
Keep KA ontology up-to-date Ontology agent
Get more provider agents involved Recruiting agent

5 Additional information

Pointers that add more background on these ideas are:

Pointers to related work include:


We would like to thank all participants of the (KA)2 initiative. Richard Benjamins is supported by the Netherlands Computer Science Research Foundation with financial support from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and by the European Commission through a Marie Curie Research Grant (TMR).