The role of ontologies in creating and maintaining corporate knowledge: A case study from the aero industry

Derek Sleeman, Suraj Ajit, David Fowler, David Knott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The Designers’ Workbench is a system, developed to support designers in large organizations, such as Rolls-Royce, to ensure that the design
is consistent with the specification for the particular design as well as with the
company’s design rule book(s). The evolving design is described against a jet
engine ontology. Design rules are expressed as constraints over the domain
ontology. To capture the constraint information, a domain expert (design
engineer) has to work with a knowledge engineer to identify the constraints,
and it is then the task of the knowledge engineer to encode these into the
Workbench’s knowledge base. This is an error prone and time consuming task.
It is highly desirable to relieve the knowledge engineer of this task, and so we
have developed a tool, ConEditor+ that enables domain experts themselves to
capture and maintain these constraints. The tool allows the user to combine
selected entities from the domain ontology with keywords and operators of a
constraint language to form a constraint expression. In order to appropriately
apply, maintain and reuse constraints, we believe that it is important to
understand the assumptions and context in which each constraint is applicable;
we refer to these as “application conditions”. We hypothesise that an explicit
representation of constraints together with the corresponding application
conditions and the appropriate domain ontology could be used by a system to
support the maintenance of constraints. In this paper, we focus on the important
role the domain ontology plays in supporting the maintenance of constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-172
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Ontology
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • knowledge management
  • ontologies


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