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Created: December 22, 2001.
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Multilingual Upper-Level Electronic Commerce Ontology (MULECO) Project.

Members of the MULECO Project have published an initial draft description of the 'Multilingual Upper-Level Electronic Commerce Ontology', as organized under the CEN/ISSS Electronic Commerce Workshop. The MULECO project will "research the most efficient means of developing a multilingual upper-level ontology for describing and identifying the relationships between electronic commerce applications and the ontologies used to describe them. In particular it will investigate how information related to business processes can be integrated with existing techniques for classifying businesses, their products and services. The upper-level ontology will take as its start point existing standardized industry and process classification schemes, such as the International Standard for Industrial Classification (ISIC) used as the basis for the NACE classification of European business. The ontology representation language should be expressed in XML so that individual components of it can be referenced as component parts of either a Unique Resource Indicator (URI), XML Path definition or XML Query. The underlying structure of the XML should be based on the concepts described in the EAGLES framework, but with alternative forms of element names based on typical business renditions of technical terms."

The MULECO project was proposed by The SGML Centre (Martin Bryan), with support expressed from the following members of the CEN/ISSS Electronic Commerce Workshop: Man-Sze Li (IC Focus), Andrzej Bialecki (WebGiro), Ambjörn Naeve (KTH/CID), Frédéric Camuzard (Motorola), Gerhard Friedrich (UKLA), Zhan Cui (BTexact).

MULECO description from the 2001-12-17 draft (excerpts)

There are many existing and proposed 'electronic commerce ontologies'. The vast majority have been defined monolingually, or in at most three or four languages, often from the same language group. The problem is that different trading partners tend to use different ontologies, and tend to prefer ontologies developed in their native language or in a 'neutral' language, which is often English. It is, therefore, difficult to identify points of overlap between ontologies, and it is also difficult for people to find relevant terms in ontologies using their native language...The aim of MULECO is to develop a mechanism that will allow existing ontologies to identify their inter-relationships by identifying the relationships between themselves and a set of terms defined in a multilingual ontology that has been designed specifically to allow people to find terms using their native language. We realise that it is not possible, or desirable, to create and maintain a multilingual ontology that covers all terms used in all business applications in all European languages. What is needed is a way of classifying entries at the upper-most levels of existing ontologies in a form that takes account of the sort of terms used by people when they are trying to locate the term(s) they wish to use. To do this we need to extend existing business classification schemes to take account of things like business processes, variant names within different user communities, exclusion properties (e.g., no peanuts), etc. Such extensions need to be based on a well documented model that is based on properly researched linguistic characteristics, such as that provided by the Expert Advisory Group in Language Engineering Standards in The EAGLES Guidelines for Lexical Semantic Standards provided in Chapter 6 of EAGLES LE3-4244: Preliminary Recommendations on Lexical Semantic Encoding -- Final Report. The MULECO project will develop an upper-level ontology, expressed as an extended network of industry descriptors, commercial terms and business roles, that will be recorded in a way that allows each entry to be addressed from other ontologies and applications by means of a Uniform Resource Identifier or an XML Path/Query.

The upper-level ontology will take as its start point existing standardized industry and process classification schemes, such as the International Standard for Industrial Classification (ISIC) used as the basis for the NACE classification of European business. The project will take note of the work being done by the IST CLAMOUR project to formally define such classification schemes. In particular it will extend currently used techniques for data classification, based on hierarchical classification of terms into broader and narrower meanings, by allowing for more complex relationships, in particular those relating to the relationships of wholes and parts which are vital to the mapping of the relationships between business processes. By defining a set of business relevant relationships between terms the project will allow classification hierarchies to become a controlled network of related words that forms an ontology rather than a classification scheme.

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