The IKF projects aims at developing a 'Distributed
Infrastructure and Services System' (IKF framework) with
appropriate toolkits and techniques for Information
Discovery in a multi-source distributed environment and
Knowledge Extraction, Fusion and Representation in order to
provide advanced applications for different domains in the
area of 'Knowledge Management' (KM).
The ultimate goal of building the common 'horizontal' IKF
Technological Framework, as an open, modular and scalable
architecture will be achieved through the development of a
set of 'vertical' applications, in which the Information-
Knowledge Fusion will be applied to selected domains: these
'IKF Application Frameworks' will demonstrate both the
value of the tools and the techniques under development and
the effectiveness of the solutions provided for Knowledge
Management in specific business areas.
The IKF project encompasses several advanced
- the distributed sources of information it deals with can
be structured (like DB-DW relations and tables, workflow
process data, etc.), semi-structured (e.g. tagged XML) or
unstructured such as free texts in natural language;
- the Intelligent Retrieval Subsystem will be Agent-based
- the Knowledge Representation Subsystem will support Link
Elicitation, Knowledge Extraction and Fusion, Inference
Management and other innovative KM functions,
specifically created to suit different application
domains. It will be based on different methods, such as
semantic networks with a general 'Reference Ontology'
which will be directly linked to specific 'Domain
- the Interface Subsystem will be typically web-browser
based with some innovative functionalities, some of which
are based on Virtual Reality solutions.
One of the crucial points of the IKF project will be to
strike a balance between a domain-dependent development and
the implementation of a general, re-useable set of tools:
this objective will be achieved while pursuing domain-
specific applications by a constant generalisation effort
throughout the project. Collaboration with end-users right
from the outset will be a strategic component of the IKF
The Italian IKF sub-consortium in particular, which shares
a large part of the total IKF effort, has focused on an
"Application Management Environment' as one of its
objectives in order to utilize a sort of 'Application
Builder Assistant' to customize and package the IKF tools
for a specific application.
The different IKF applications, strongly supported by eight
end-users in six European countries, cover a wide range
of important areas:
- finance - insurance
- banking regulations
- legal information
- training & education
- e-commerce/search engines
- the industrial environment.
The expected results in terms of Knowledge Management
Applications will provide a new generation of re-useable
products, based on intelligent, decision-support systems
helping the different users to benefit from multi-
disciplinary data and information and behaviour-based/self-
organising Knowledge Systems.
The Domain diversification is also important to guarantee
the validation of the general IKF infrastructure, inside a
specific application of a National IKF sub-project: each
National IKF sub-consortium contributes to the development
of specific parts of the general IKF Framework,
implementing inside its own IKF environment, new modules,
integrating and customizing components that are already
available on the market or delivered during the project by
other IKF partners.
The IKF Consortium covers over 10 System Developers in 6
European countries, responsible for the implementation of
the prototypes and exploitation of the results. The
objectives reflect mainly the industrial strategies of
these System Developers, who will be supported by a large
technology contribution from Universities and Research
Centres (acting as IKF Technology Providers).
The IKF EUREKA project is related to the Information
Society Technology (IST) theme inside the 5th Framework
Programme of EU RTD 1998-2002. The references are:
- Key Action IV Essential Technologies and Infrastructure
- RTD Priority in 1999: IV.3 (Technologies and engineering
for software, systems and services)
- Action Line IV.3.3 (Methods and Tools for Intelligence
and Knowledge Sharing).
In particular strong collaboration will be established
between the EUREKA IKF project and the project
'MACROntology' of the 5th Framework Programme which has
just been submitted under the 19th March call.
MACROntology will be coordinated by the Italian LADSEB-CNR
of Padua, an official Technology Provider for the Italian
IKF sub-consortium as well.
Planned deliverables from MACROntology to IKF are:
* the 'Reference Ontology' with lexical links for the
Italian and English language;
* 'Ontology-driven conceptual modelling' methodology;
* 'Ontology-driven Information Retrieval technology';
* 'Domain Ontologies for clinical and biological data'.
On the other hand, the IKF partners will contribute to the
validation processes of the MACROntology results, mainly
for the finance and healthcare areas.
Keywords: information, knowledge, ontology, e-commerce.