The growing availability of information has shifted the focus from closed, relatively data-poor applications, to mechanisms and applications for searching, integrating and making use of the vast amounts of information that are now available. Ontologies provide the semantic underpinning enabling intelligent access, integration, sharing and use of data. As ontologies are produced in larger numbers and exhibit greater complexity and scale, we now have an opportunity to build a new generation of complex systems, which can make the most of the unprecedented availability of both large volumes of data and large, reusable semantic resources.
At the same time, we face a challenge: current methodologies and technologies, inherited from the days of closed, data-poor systems, are simply not adequate to support the whole application development lifecycle for this new class of semantic applications.
NeOn has developed both tool support and an associated methodology, to make possible the development of such a new generation of semantic applications, with the overall goal of producing economically viable solutions handling the whole life-cycle of these applications.
Ontologies provide a key technology to support interoperability on the Web and to enable semantic integration of both data and processes. Ontologies have come of age, and we are now entering a new phase, one in which they are being produced in larger numbers and exhibit greater complexity than ever before.
However, ontologies on the Web are not standalone artifacts. They relate to each other in ways that might affect their meaning, and are inherently distributed in a network of interlinked semantic resources, taking into account in particular their dynamics, modularity and contextual dependencies. NeOn encapsulates this notion under the term Network Ontologies, providing tools such as the NeOn Toolkit and all its extensions to develop, test and exploit ontologies in a network.
NeOn is investigating the entire development and evolution lifecycle of networked ontologies that enable complex, semantic applications. We pay special attention to integrating NeOn research into work practices. Therefore, the methodology, toolkit and infrastructure have been intertwined with their deployment and testing from the early phases of the project. NeOn uses a case-centered methodology, which means that our research results are applied to the real-world cases involving partners from industry and public bodies.
- Managing the dynamics and evolution of ontologies in an open, networked environment
- Providing support for collaborative development of networked ontologies
- Facilitating contextual awareness and using context for developing, sharing, adapting and maintaining networked ontologies
- Improving human-ontology interaction; i.e. making it easier for users with different leves of expertise and experience to browse and make sense of ontologies
The results of our academic and industrial research are visible in more details in our publications page.
Structure of NeOn
NeOn includes 14 partners from various European countries, various European countries, from both academia and industry. The technologies produced by NeOn have been applied to three different case studies in two vast, transnational domains (fisheries and the pharmaceutical industry).
About the funding body
Based on the Treaty establishing the European Union, the Sixth Framework Programme serves two main strategic objectives: (i) strengthening the scientific and technological bases of industry as well as its international competitiveness and (ii) promoting research activities in support of other EU policies. These two objectives are setting the general scene for choosing priorities and instruments.
NeOn is funded under one of the priority areas of the Sixth Framework Programme called Information Society Technologies (IST). The core objective of this priority area is to support research and development activities focusing on the future generation of technologies that are capable of integrating computers and networks into everyday environment, while placing the individual at the centre. Over the entire life of FP6 this budget supported more than 700 research and development projects covering 26 broad societal and economic challenges and involving industrial and academic institutions from every European country.