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Dagobert Soergel
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Proposal for an open, multifunctional, multilingual, system for integrated access to knowledge about concepts and terminology

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Expanded version of a paper published in Advances in Knowledge Organization v.5 (1996): 165-173 (4th Annual ISKO Conference, Washington, D.C., 1996 July 15-18). This version has more detail, particularly in Figure 1 and Section 4.1.2.


This paper presents a proposal for the long-range development of an open, multifunctional, multilingual system for integrated access to many kinds of knowledge about concepts and terminology. The system would draw on existing knowledge bases that are accessible through the Internet or on CD-ROM and on a common integrated distributed knowledge base that would grow incrementally over time. Existing knowledge bases would be accessed through a common interface that would search several knowledge bases, collate the data into a common format, and present them to the user. The common integrated distributed knowledge base would provide an environment in which many contributors could carry out classification and terminological projects more efficiently, with the results available in a common format. Over time, data from other knowledge bases could be incorporated into the common knowledge base, either by actual transfer (provided the knowledge base producers are willing) or by reference through a link. Either way, such incorporation requires intellectual work but allows for tighter integration than common interface access to multiple knowledge bases. Each piece of information in the common knowledge base will have all its sources attached, providing an acknowledgment mechanism that gives due credit to all contributors. The whole system would be designed to be usable by many levels of users for improved information exchange.
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