Title: OCEAN: an ontology for supporting interoperability service utilities in virtual organisations

Authors: Yiannis Verginadis, Dimitris Apostolou, Nikos Papageorgiou, Gregoris Mentzas

Addresses: Institute of Communications and Computer Systems, National Technical University of Athens, 9, Iroon Polytechniou Str., Athens, Greece. ' Informatics Department, University of Piraeus, 80 Karaoli & Dimitriou Str., Piraeus, Athens, Greece. ' Institute of Communications and Computer Systems, National Technical University of Athens, 9, Iroon Polytechniou Str., Athens, Greece. ' Institute of Communications and Computer Systems, National Technical University of Athens, 9, Iroon Polytechniou Str., Athens, Greece

Abstract: Semantic interoperability is a crucial issue in industrial enterprises when they participate in virtual organisations (VOs), i.e., when they dynamically form network-based collaborative alliances of a temporary nature. Addressing semantic heterogeneities aims to ensure that the meaning of information exchanged by VOs is interpreted in the same way by all communicating parties and their systems. In this paper we examine how ontologies can be employed by a system of services for delivering interoperability to enterprises, independent of particular IT deployments. In order to support interoperability service utilities in VOs, this paper presents a top-level ontology for collaborative networked organisations (code named OCEAN). The OCEAN ontology is designed as a lightweight top-level ontology that provides a common terminological reference in terms of VOs. The paper also demonstrates the use of practical tools for achieving consensus of the shared conceptualisation of a virtual organisation (VO), among participants, while it outlines a service-oriented architecture (SOA) for supporting VO knowledge based collaborations using OCEAN. We demonstrate how that usage enables shared understanding in knowledge-intensive collaborations, as well as how it facilitates interoperability of applications that provide collaboration services, presenting concrete examples from the pharmaceutical industry.

Keywords: top level ontology; virtual organisations; networked collaboration; semantic interoperability; interoperability service utility; service-oriented architecture; SOA; pharmaceutical industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNVO.2011.042418

International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, 2011 Vol.9 No.2, pp.184 - 209

Published online: 08 Sep 2011 *

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