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Created: February 28, 2001.
News: Cover Stories

Draft Version of The Upper Cyc Ontology in XML Topic Map Representation.

Murray Altheim (Sun Microsystems) announced the availability of a draft version of the Upper Cyc Ontology in XTM (XML Topic Map) format. Reference: Sun Microsystems Technical Report 27-February-2001. The Technical Report "documents research and development of an XML Topic Map (XTM) representation of the Upper Cyc Ontology, including a distribution of five XTM topic maps based on features of the ontology. The Technical Report plus any associated software and/or documentation may be submitted to TopicMaps.Org with the goal of promoting XML Topic Maps (XTM) as a suitable ontological framework, as well as a source of XTM Published Subject Indicators (PSIs). The Upper Cyc Ontology knowledge base stores some 3,000 terms capturing the most general concepts of human consensus reality; it also represents a vast structure of more specific concepts descending below this upper level: logical axioms (rules and other assertions) which specify constraints on the individual objects and classes found in the real world.

"Topic Maps hold great promise as a method of representing both human knowledge and the structural relations within elements of that knowledge, allowing for the interchange of such information across the boundaries of knowledge domain, computer notation, and even natural language. For this new technology to allow ready interchange, it relies upon the availability of a set of common subject indicators. When these subject indicators are placed within an ontological framework (so that they are related by contextually typed relationships with other subjects), a whole range of other inferential and logical relationships may be deduced. This Technical Report describes how the Upper Cyc Ontology can be represented by the topic and association syntax of XML Topic Maps (XTM). This includes brief introductions to Cyc and XTM, a distribution of five Cyc-based topic maps, as well as an explanation of the possible uses and benefits of these topic maps within the wider community..."

"Properties of knowledge may be grouped by domain into vocabularies. XML markup allows for the creation of an unlimited number of vocabularies, and RDF provides only one framework for representing the structure of a vocabulary. By standardizing the notation of representation on XML or RDF, a first step toward information sharing has been taken, but this is far from sufficient for comparing, relating, transforming or otherwise sharing the knowledge represented in markup, whether it be business information, metadata about business information, or metadata about metadata about business information. Encoding a standard vocabulary based on an taxonomical structure rather than simply a list of subjects (such as the U.S. Library of Congress subject headings) allows the class relationships between terms to be expressed. Simple taxonomies form the structure underlying many Web portals such as Yahoo!, Lycos, and the Open Directory Project at DMOZ. More important is the ability to map the relations between differing vocabularies, and pinpoint the location of properties within a larger ontological framework of interconnected knowledge, interconnected via the relationships established within an ontology... Computer-based ontologies are representational vocabularies within a knowledge domain whose terms are intended to capture conceptualizations of knowledge within the domain. Without such a means of capturing the conceptualizations that underlie human knowledge, we have no vocabulary for representing knowledge... Ontologies describe further contextual, domain-specific descriptive logic, and property-based relations, providing the ability to make inferences from these relationships. While RDF, Dublin Core, DAML-OIL, and other technologies have been very successful in fulfilling their design goals, there still remains the lack of sharing the knowledge expressed in these various technologies across the boundaries of notation, grammar, knowledge domain, and natural language, among others..."

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