Paper Analysis: “OntoShare – A Knowledge Management Environment for VCoPs”


Davies, J., Duke, A., & Sure, Y. (n.d.). OntoShare – A Knowledge Management Environment for Virtual Communities of Practice.


  • This paper describes an ontology based knowledge sharing system called OntoShare and its evolution as part of a case study (ontology = the study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality)
  • OntoShare is a system for supporting Semantic Web-based communities of practice (semantic = relating to meaning in language or logic)
  • Communities of Practice are groups within (or sometimes across) organisations who share a common set of information needs or problems.
    • They are typically not a formal organization unit but an informal network, each sharing a common agenda and shared interests or issues
  • knowledge management tools must give users the ability to organise information into a controllable asset – they can make better use of the raw information already available, they can shift, abstract and help to share new information and present it to users in new and compelling ways
  • Sharing knowledge in OntoShare:
    • when a user finds information of interest to be shared with their CoP, a “share” request is sent to OntoShare
    • OntoShare then invites the user to supply an annotation to be stored with the information
    • At this point, the system will also match the content being shared against the concepts in the community’s ontology.
    • The systems then suggests to the sharer a set of concepts to which the information could be assigned
    • The user is then able to accept the system reccomendation or modify it by suggesting alternative or additional concepts to which the document should be assigned
    • a shared and enhanced information resource is built up in OntoShare based on user contributions – the quality of the information in the OntoShare store is high
  • Retrieving explicit knowledge in OntoShare:
    • email notifications
    • searching the community store – accessing information and people
    • personalised information
  • On-to-Knowledge Methodology:
    • Feasibility Study – the problem/opportunity area and potential solutions are identified
    • Kickoff – the actual development of an ontology begins
    • Refinement – developing a taxonomy and adding additional relations to form a more rich ontology
    • Evaluation – 3 forms of evaluation in the methodology
      • technology focused evaluation
      • user focused evaluation
      • ontology focused evaluation
    • Application and Evolution
  • Results of Case Study
    • give careful consideration to the nature of the virtual community – (not all members add items to the system, some just read documents and receive emails)
    • provide wider access to functions – the need to login to add comments, items etc. Alternative methods should be explored.
    • provide better support to new users – users are often daunted by the interface
    • inform users about an ontology change – ensure that users can gain access to items added to new areas without having to login
    • physical presence is required
    • domain experts can be expected to produce a taxonomy



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s