This article presents the
vision and results of creating a national
level cross-domain ontology
service infrastructure in Finland in the
FinnONTO project. The
novelty of the infrastructure is based on two
ideas. First, a system of
open source core ontologies is being developed
by transforming thesauri
into mutually aligned lightweight ontologies,
including a top ontology of
20,000 concepts that is extended by various
domain specific ontologies.
Second, the ONKI Ontology Server framework
for publishing ontologies
as ready to use services has been designed
and implemented. ONKI
provides legacy and other applications with
ready to use
functionalities for using ontologies on the user
level as semantic widgets.
The idea is to use ONKI for creating mash-up
applications in a way
analogous to using Google or Yahoo Maps, but
in our case external
applications are mashed-up with ontology support.
The ontology framework
presented is operational on the web and is being
used in creating the
the main FinnONTO page: http://www.seco.tkk.fi/projects/finnonto/.
The ambitious goal of FinnONTO is to lay a foundation for a national
metadata, ontology, and ontology service framework in Finland, and demonstrate
its usefulness in practical applications. In our vision, a conceptual semantic
infrastructure is needed for the semantic web in the same way as roads are
needed for traffic and transportation, power plants and electrical networks
are needed for energy supply, or GSM standards and networks are needed for
mobile phones and wireless communication. A solid, commonly agreed open
infrastructure would make it much easier and cheaper for public organizations
and companies to create interoperable, intelligent services on the coming
semantic web. The infrastructure should be open source and its central
components be maintained by the public sector order to guarantee wide usage
and interoperability across different application domains and users.
The consortium behind the project included 37 public organizations and
companies funding the research during the final year 2007. This consortium
represents a wide area of functions of the society including museums,
libraries, business, health organizations, government, media, and education.
Public organizations, companies, and universities are participating in the