KSL Ontology Server Projects

The Ontology Server is a tool that supports distributed, collaborative editing, browsing and creation of Ontolingua ontologies. The Ontology Server can be used with any recent web-browser and is available at the URL http://www-ksl-svc.stanford.edu:5915

Since its announcement in February 1995, the Ontology Server has been used by a number of groups around the world to construct and access ontologies (see KSL-95-63 for information about the server and its use).

This page includes short descriptions of some of these projects. This list is incomplete. If you would like your project to be included here, please send a brief description and URLs (if available) to Adam_Farquhar@ksl.stanford.edu. Please include the project name, URL, key personnel, project goal, a brief description, the role of ontologies and the Ontology Server in the project, ontologies constructed, and pointers to relevant publications.

Projects Using the Ontology Server


For more information please contact Bob Engelmore (rse@ksl.stanford.edu).

At Stanford University, the Center for Integration Technology (CIT) and the Knowledge Systems, AI Laboratory (KSL) are participating in the ARPA-sponsored CommerceNet project. The overall objective of the CIT and KSL efforts is to demonstrate the efficiencies and added capabilities afforded by making product and data catalogs accessible on the World Wide Web, in a form that allows potential customers to locate products based on descriptions of their specifications (not just keywords or part numbers), and to compare products across multiple catalogs. One aspect of the effort is the development of ontologies of terms and relations that describe selected classes of products. The KSL ontology editor is the primary tool used to create these ontologies. Several pilot projects are currently underway with CommerceNet member companies, focussing on test and measurement equipment, semiconductor components, and computer workstations.

The Enterprise Project

For more information please contact: Mike Uschold (M.Uschold@ed.ac.uk)

The Enterprise project at the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute is aimed at providing a method and computer tool set which will help capture aspects of a business and analyse these to identify and compare options for meeting the business requirements. The tool set will provide task management support to users by helping them to perform enterprise modelling activities and guiding them through the toolset facilities.

The framework for integrating methods and tools will be solidly based on an ontology for enterprise modelling. It will support a generic core of practical knowledge based modelling tools and methods for business application and will be developed in accordance with existing and emerging standards in open systems and knowledge representation.

Role of Ontologies:

The Enterprise Ontology is a collection of terms and definitions relevant to business enterprises. It provides a common language to help business software applications to communicate. The scope of the Enterprise Ontology is limited to those core concepts required for the project, however it is expected that it will appeal to a wider audience. It should not be considered static: during the course of the project, the Enterprise Ontology will be further refined and extended, and all comments and suggestions will be gratefully received.

Role of Ontology Editor:

For the Enterprise Ontology to be useful in the Enterprise tool set (in which the communication language between software applications is KIF), it has to be formalised. We first developed the ontology in natural language and then used the Ontology Editor to convert it into Ontolingua. Some brief comments on this process can be found here.


The InterMed Project

The InterMed Project is a collaborative project in Medical Informatics research among five different research sites: Columbia, Harvard (Decision Support Group), Mass General Hospital (lab of computer science), The University of Utah and Stanford University (Section on Medical Informatics).

For information about the connection between InterMed and the Ontology server, contact John Gennari (gennari@camis.stanford.edu). Also, see the following technical report: A Web-Based Architecture of a Medical Vocabulary Server , to be presented at SCAMC, 1995.

The ontology server is used most by the Stanford group as they attempt to build a medical vocabulary server. The vocabulary home page includes a list of medical ontologies currently built by the InterMed group. Since these ontologies are first draft, rough approximations, they are generally not world-readable; however, send mail to John Gennari if you are interested.


J. H. Gennari, D. E. Oliver, W. Pratt, J. Rice, & M. A. Musen (1995) A Web-Based Architecture for a Medical Vocabulary Server. KSL Technical Report KSL-95-41. To appear in Proceedings of the Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care (SCAMC), November, 1995
Full list of papers

Trial Bank

For more information please contact Ida Sim (sim@camis.stanford.edu).

Our society invests heavily in clinical trials, yet the results are hard to find, interpret and synthesize. We propose that trial results be reported as both prose commentary and as data in electronic trial banks. The goal of this project is to develop a formal specification of the clinical trials domain and to enable knowledge sharing among databases of clinicial trials.


Accounting Information Systems

For more information please contact James M. Peters ( jpeters+@CMU.EDU).

Says Jim Peters:

My colleagues and I at CMU have developed an ontology for an Accounting Information system (AIS). This ontology is the basis for a decision aid developed to help auditors select key controls (i.e., the controls in the AIS that should be tested to determine the AIS's reliability). We decided to use Ontolinqua because we felt that prior work in decision aid development had been hampered because researchers do not make the ontologies underlying their knowledge bases explicit, and thus make their knowledge much less transportable. We also wanted to use a platform that would impose discipline on the ontology and help insure that it was internally consistent.


Currently putting the finishing touches on two working papers reporting the results of our research.

Network-based Information Brokers

For more information please contact Adam Farquhar ( Adam_Farquhar@ksl.stanford.edu).

The Network-based Information Broker project aims to develop key technologies that will enable vendors and buyers to build and maintain network-based information brokers capable of retrieving information about services and products via the Internet from multiple vendor catalogs and data bases for both human and computer-based clients. The ability to obtain relevant information in a timely and cost efficient manner is central to the effective performance of most tasks in our society. The widespread availability of computer-based information brokers will provide that ability to large communities by significantly facilitating effective access to the broad range of information that is rapidly becoming available on the Internet. The general availability of the technology to build and maintain information brokers will enable an industry to be established whose primary products are computer-based network-accessible brokering services.


A. Farquhar, R. Fikes, W. Pratt, & J. Rice. Collaborative Ontology Construction for Information Integration. Knowledge Systems Laboratory Department of Computer Science, KSL-95-63, August 1995.
R. Fikes, R. Engelmore, A. Farquhar, & W. Pratt. Network-based Information Brokers. Knowledge Systems, AI Laboratory, KSL-95-13, January 1995.
A. Farquhar, A. Dappert, R. Fikes, & W. Pratt. Integrating Information Sources Using Context Logic. Knowledge Systems Laboratory, KSL-95-12, January 1995.

Bayesian Network to Ontolingua/KIF/frame Transformer

This is a new project by Keung Chi Ng at IET. See here for details.