NeOn Team Glows in Snow

The NeOn Project held their latest Team Meeting at Charmeil, Saint-Quentin-en-Isère, near Grenoble. The highlight of the week was a evening snow-shoe trek on the Vercors mountain to visit the "refuge de Gève" mountain shelter, which was arranged by host partner, INRIA.

NeOn is a €14m EC-funded project which aim is to develop tools for facilitating the design and development of large-scale semantically-aware applications that draw on heterogeneous data and knowledge sources. Thus NeOn aims at providing an effective and concrete solution to such challenges as enterprise-wide data integration and large-scale data maintenance.

Achievements as we approach the end of Year 3 include:

• Releasing the open source version of the NeOn Toolkit,
• Completing the key elements of the NeOn Methodology,
• Developing the first versions of our application testbeds,
• Developing new methods and tools for managing networks of ontologies,
• Supporting collaborative ontology engineering and
• Customising ontologies in accordance with user needs.

Looking ahead

Work in the final year will cover the whole spectrum of NeOn activities, aiming to push the boundaries of semantic technologies at all levels, from the management of network dynamics to the methodological support for industrial development of semantic applications.

The NeOn Toolkit, one of the core outcomes of the NeOn project, is available for download and testing from the NeOn Toolkit & Community site. and 35 plugins for the NeOn Toolkit are already available.

We expect a number a new plugins be finalized and released to the end users, including a more powerful support for managing networks of ontologies, an integrated support for collaborative ontology engineering, and several new forms of contextual reasoning, e.g. to manage trust, access rights, editorial workflow, and data reuse. One of the planned highlights is the implementation of a better visualization support based on ontology summaries to improve the navigation and the analysis of large semantic models.

While the first release of the NeOn Methodology focused on providing guidance for ontology reuse and data reengineering from legacy formats (including XML and DB), planned extensions to the NeOn Methodology include guidance for building contextualised ontology networks, for working with ontology design patterns, and for creating and merging modules for large-scale ontology networks. Of particular importance is the operationalisation of the methodological guidance in the form of a plugin for the NeOn Toolkit, which will open up ontology engineering to a wider user base, as well as providing a way to facilitate principled ontology engineering and ontology maintenance in the context of the testbed applications in the Fisheries and Pharmaceutical domains.

Year 4 will also focus on dissemination and outreach activities to create a sustainable NeOn user community beyond 2010.

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