Semantic Search with Self-Maintaining Classes: A Case Study

Patten, T. and Hookway, S.

Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Semantic Web & Web Services, Las Vegas, NV (2010)

Defining semantic classes in terms of the properties of their members is a useful technique in semantic search because such classes are self-maintaining—if new items with the required properties appear, they automatically become members of the class. These self-maintaining classes can be organized independently of the primary subsumption hierarchies to match queries that may not line up well with the ontology, producing a technique loosely analogous to database “views.” An Air Force-motivated case study is presented where queries for threats to air operations are matched even though the weapons taxonomy does not contain classes that distinguish threats from non-threats. Class expressions are defined that match weapon properties such as “fires air-to-air missiles,” or “fires surface-to-air missiles.” The resulting threat classes are self-maintaining since new weapons—or old weapons with new properties—are added to the classes automatically.

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