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The present document gives guidance about the adoption/development of European Ontologies tailored to the Construction sector. It starts with an analysis on the state of the art about the development of Construction-related semantic resources (e.g. ontologies, taxonomies, dictionaries). The opinion expressed by this CWA is that it is possible to rely on a standard "foundation" where complementary efforts can be combined in a harmonic and holistic way, especially regarding the developments related to the Semantic Web. Regardless the multitude of definitions of ontology currently available, it is out of the scope of this CWA to propose a standardised definition for the term ontology. However it is necessary to adopt one definition to guide the work. We propose a refined version of the definition adopted in the e-COGNOS project (www.ecognos. org), an IST project dealing with Knowledge Management -related matters specifically targeting the construction sector: An Ontology denotes a (typically shared) understanding of a particular domain in terms of concepts (abstract ideas having some semantic value) which are inter-connected through a set of relevant relations. To complement this definition, a concept identifies an abstract idea that has a semantic value and a relation is a concept that connects other concepts (1:1, 1:n, n:n). It carries on information valid between the related concepts. According to [McGuinness 2002], one of the simplest notions of a possible ontology is a vocabulary with a finite list of terms. Another potential ontology specification is a dictionary, i.e., list of terms and meanings. A Thesaurus provides some additional semantics in its relations between terms (narrower/broader terms). Some people consider all previous categories as ontologies; others prefer to have an explicit hierarchy included in something to be considered ontology. SPICE does share this view and believes that a taxonomy of concepts is really the backbone of an ontology. It is important to highlight that a thesaurus does contain a hierarchy of terms and a small taxonomy of relations, as such it is considered the smallest example of ontology. Ontology becomes complete with a taxonomy of relations that are applied to the hierarchy of concepts. In other words, the ontologies considered here will belong to this group. Another very strategic aspect to be considered is the compliancy with the Semantic Web in the sense that the European Ontology for the construction sector has to be aware of the recommendations and developments promoted, mostly, by the W3C. The web, clearly the most important platform with which to be compatible today is the arena where business has been growing and promoted in a good pace. Ontologies and the related resources are used with different purposes, according to their areas of application. For instance, the bcBuildingDefinitions taxonomy developed by the eConstruct project (www.bcxml.org) was mainly used to support the creation, publication and use of electronic catalogues of construction products - the electronic commerce, to some extent. The e-COGNOS Ontology (www.e-cognos.org) has been developed with one single purpose: support the adoption of Knowledge Management practices in the BC sector. Therefore, even talking about very similar resources, their usage can be radically different which is to be considered in this work. However, regardless the application domain where the ontology is used, there is at least one common element found in all cases: ontology is about meaning. In other words, any ontology has to deal with: definitions, descriptions, structural aspects, synonyms, semantics, relations and properties associated to concepts. This common element provides a baseline where the European ontology for the construction sector can start from.
||European eConstruction Ontology (EeO)