Maintaining Enterprise Knowledge with a REA-EO Driven Semantic Wiki

By Sedbrook, Tod A. | Journal of International Technology and Information Management, January 2010 | Go to article overview

Maintaining Enterprise Knowledge with a REA-EO Driven Semantic Wiki


Sedbrook, Tod A., Journal of International Technology and Information Management


INTRODUCTION

Designers of knowledge-based systems are required to support day-to-day decision making by providing managers with readily accessible knowledge concerning financial transactions, strategic objectives, key issues, and resources. In addition, they must provide ways for knowledge workers to contribute to community efforts for event monitoring, updating and maintaining organizational knowledge (Dahanayake, Welke, & Cavalheiro, 2009; Vinekar, Teng, & Chennamaneni, 2009; Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002).

Designers must ensure ease of access for browsing and querying organizational knowledge while at the same time providing systems that monitor new content for consistency (Chan, 2009). Researchers are studying ways to improve knowledge consistency by organizing domain concepts within an ontology, which formally represents exchangeable and explicit concepts and relationships (Attou & Moessner, 2007; Gruber, 1993; Magro & Goy, 2008).

A business enterprise ontology such as REA-EO (Resources, Events, Agents Enterprise Ontology) supports common business concepts and relationships through semantic integration of business domains (Geerts & McCarthy, 2006). For example, one organization's ontology may refer to the customers as "end users" while another organization uses the term "clients." REAEO facilitates a higher-level mapping between these two domains by the classifying both "end users" and "clients" under the general REA-EO concept of "Agent".

Over its twenty-five year history, REA's examples, explanations and experiments have established its theoretical principles for defining and relating ontological types. REA-EO is the basis for open-EDI standards that support interoperability among trading partners (International Organization for Standardization, 2007). As a lightweight business domain ontology, the REA-EO organizes abstract business concepts to improve knowledge-based reasoning systems (Geerts & McCarthy, 2000).

Recent efforts to formalize REA-EO theory within an OWL (Web Ontology Language) representation provides a semantic foundation for enhancing knowledge-based applications (Gailly & Poels, 2007, 2008). The next step needed is applying, and evaluating the utility of, the formalized REA-EO/OWL representation (Gailly, Laurier, & Poels, 2008).

Like the successful and popular Wikipedia, a wiki is an application designed to allow communities to create, browse, query and navigate enterprise knowledge (Auer, Jungmann, & Schonefeld, 2007). Traditional wikis, however, are limited to simple generic links which provide limited insight into semantic relations among wiki topics. Researchers are actively exploring semantic wikis that can provide typed links able to better categorize and organize the relationships among topics (Buffa, Gandon, Ereteo, Sander, & Faron, 2008; Krotzsch, Vrandecic, Volkel, Haller, & Studer, 2007; Schaffert, Bry, Joachim, & Malte, 2008).

This study applies a design science approach to evaluate a maintenance methodology and test its application in a field study. Design Science is a research technique that requires the evaluation of a created artifact to test approaches for solving difficult business problems (Hevner, March, Park, & Ram, 2004). The study defines an iterative methodology to help communities maintain evolving enterprise knowledge. The methodology directs the steps for creation of REA-EO systems to enhance semantic wiki applications.

The following section reviews the need for additional semantic structures to support a community's knowledge resources. The review discusses semantic metadata standards for representing and applying the REA-EO, and investigates semantic wikis. Subsequent sections define, apply and evaluate a maintenance methodology used to populate a semantic wiki within a field study setting.

LITERATURE REVIEW Semantic organization of knowledge

Governance bodies stress the need for enhanced business reporting (EBR) which provides future-oriented and real-time knowledge for decision makers. …

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