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Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services Approach to Computer-Aided Engineering Design
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Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services Approach to Computer-Aided Engineering Design

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Authors: Vacharasintopchai, Thiti; Wuwongse, Vilas; Kanok-Nukulchai, Worsak; and …

Authors: Vacharasintopchai, Thiti; Wuwongse, Vilas; Kanok-Nukulchai, Worsak; and
Chalermsook, Krissada

Issue Date: 13-Dec-2007

Type: Article

Series/Report no.: Proc. 8th Asia Pacific Industrial and Management System Conference (APIEMS2007);

Abstract: Practicing engineers often face two obstacles during the course of a design project. One is the limited access to relevant knowledge and another is the limited access to convenient computing tools. Several tasks are involved when a project is launched, in terms of computing workflow, research work, and discussion among colleagues. These tasks are repeated over and over again until a final design is arrived. If the tasks are not well facilitated, several bottlenecks will occur and an engineering firm may lose its competitiveness in the industry. Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services possess the potential to improve the productivity of the engineers in dealing with the computational and knowledge management workflows. Weblog and Digital Library, modern information technologies deployable on the Internet or an intranet, can be combined into a modern form of knowledge management (KM) system which more naturally and collaboratively facilitates individuals in sharing tacit and explicit knowledge, as well as computing tools. Semantic Web Services, the joint application of the Internet-based Web Services and the Semantic Web technologies, can be applied to help unify and utilize the scattered computing resources, which include design tools, computers, databases, and knowledge bases, to enable numerical analysis to be performed in a fast, accurate, and automated manner. This paper presents a framework for the application of Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services to improve the productivity of the engineers. A social-Web system prototype, developed to assist users in building up the personal portfolios of knowledge and computing tools which can be shared with their peers to form a larger organizational KM system, is presented to illustrate the framework.

URI: http://dspace.siu.ac.th/handle/1532/16

Published in Education , Business
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  • 1. Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services Approach to Computer-Aided Engineering Design Thiti Vacharasintopchai 1*, Vilas Wuwongse 2, Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai 3, and Krissada Chalermsook 4 1 School of Engineering and Technology Asian Institute of Technology P.O. Box 4 Klong Luang Pathumthani 12120, Thailand Corresponding author’s e-mail: thitiv@gmail.com 2, 3, 4 School of Engineering and Technology Asian Institute of Technology P.O. Box 4 Klong Luang Pathumthani 12120, ThailandAbstract: Practicing engineers often face two obstacles during the course of a design project. One is the limited access torelevant knowledge and another is the limited access to convenient computing tools. Several tasks are involved when aproject is launched, in terms of computing workflow, research work, and discussion among colleagues. These tasks arerepeated over and over again until a final design is arrived. If the tasks are not well facilitated, several bottlenecks willoccur and an engineering firm may lose its competitiveness in the industry. Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic WebServices possess the potential to improve the productivity of the engineers in dealing with the computational andknowledge management workflows. Weblog and Digital Library, modern information technologies deployable on theInternet or an intranet, can be combined into a modern form of knowledge management (KM) system which morenaturally and collaboratively facilitates individuals in sharing tacit and explicit knowledge, as well as computing tools.Semantic Web Services, the joint application of the Internet-based Web Services and the Semantic Web technologies, canbe applied to help unify and utilize the scattered computing resources, which include design tools, computers, databases,and knowledge bases, to enable numerical analysis to be performed in a fast, accurate, and automated manner. This paperpresents a framework for the application of Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services to improve theproductivity of the engineers. A social-Web system prototype, developed to assist users in building up the personalportfolios of knowledge and computing tools which can be shared with their peers to form a larger organizational KMsystem, is presented to illustrate the framework.Keywords: knowledge management, weblogs, digital libraries, semantic web services 1. INTRODUCTIONPracticing engineers often face two obstacles during the course of a design project. One is the limited access to relevantknowledge and another is the limited access to convenient computing tools. Many tasks are involved when a project islaunched, in terms of computing workflow, research work, and discussion among colleagues. These tasks are usuallyrepeated over and over again until a final design is arrived. If the tasks are not well facilitated, several bottlenecks willoccur and an engineering firm may lose its competitiveness in the industry. Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services possess the potential to improve the productivity of theengineers in dealing with the computational and knowledge management workflows. Weblog (a.k.a. Blog) and DigitalLibrary†, modern information technologies deployable on the Internet or an intranet, can be combined into a modern formof knowledge management (KM) system which more naturally and collaboratively facilitates individuals in sharing tacitand explicit knowledge, as well as computing tools. Semantic Web Services, the joint application of the Internet-basedWeb Services and the Semantic Web technologies, can also be integrated into the KM system to assist engineers insharing the wealth of computational tools that they have developed or possessed on the network of heterogeneouscomputing platforms. An overview of the knowledge management theories and information technologies essential to the application ofWeblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Services to improve the productivity of the engineers is presented in thispaper, and a framework for such an application is proposed. First, background information on knowledge management, as† Weblog, Blog, and Digital Library, in capitalized spellings, refer to the names of technologies. The non-capitalized ones refer torespective instances of technology application.
  • 2. well as the Theory of Organizational Knowledge Management, which is central to the development of the framework, ispresented. Second, Weblog and Digital Library, the modern information technologies that can be combined to build asecond generation KM system, are discussed. Next, Blog+DL, a framework for the joint application of Weblog andDigital Library in engineering knowledge management, is proposed. To enhance Blog+DL in handling the computationalaspect of a design project, Semantic Web Services and the Semantic Web Services Framework for ComputationalMechanics (SWSCM), which address how computing software developed by heterogeneous group of people for differentcomputer platforms can be shared and interoperate on the Internet or an intranet, are introduced. Finally, a social-Websystem prototype, developed to assist users in building up the personal portfolios of knowledge and computing toolswhich can be shared with their peers to form a larger organizational KM system, is presented to illustrate the framework. 2. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT2.1 GeneralKnowledge management (KM) is a process for optimizing the effective application of intellectual assets to achieveorganizational objectives (Pollock, 2001). Knowledges, the sets of processed information in relevant context ready forunderstanding and actions (Turban and Aronson, 2001, as cited in Mezher et al. 2005), are organization-specific resourcesthat are indispensable to create values for the organization (de Geytere, 2007). Knowledge can be classified into two kinds,namely, explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge can be articulated in formal language such asgrammatical statements, mathematical expressions, and manuals, which can easily be processed by a computer. Tacitknowledge on the other hand comprises personal knowledge embedded in individual experience, which are difficult toarticulate with formal language. Since a large portion of human knowledge resides in the form of tacit knowledge, tacitknowledge is regarded as the more important kind of knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).2.2 Theory of Organizational Knowledge CreationKnowledge is dynamic in nature. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) proposed the Theory of Organizational KnowledgeCreation which explains the creation of human knowledge through social interaction between tacit knowledge andexplicit knowledge by four temporal modes of knowledge conversion, namely, (1) socialization from tacit knowledge totacit knowledge, (2) externalization from tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge, (3) combination from explicitknowledge to explicit knowledge, and (4) internalization from explicit to tacit knowledge. Socialization, the process of “sharing experiences and thereby creating tacit knowledge” such as shared mentalmodels and technical skills, helps an individual to acquire tacit knowledge directly from others through observation,imitation, and practice. Externalization, the process of “articulating tacit knowledge into explicit concepts,” is thedefinitive process through which an individual attempts to conceptualize a mental image linguistically. Combination, theprocess of “systemizing concepts into a knowledge system,” involves “networking” different bodies of explicitknowledge in media such as documents or computerized communication channels so that they are “crystallized” into anew knowledge. Internalization, the process of “embodying explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge,” is the processthrough which experiences of the individuals, obtained through socialization, externalization, and combination, areinternalized into their tacit knowledge bases in the form of shared mental models or technical know-how. A knowledgeconversion is a social process between individuals and human cognition is an individual’s deductive process; therefore,through shifts between these social knowledge conversion processes, the quality and quantity of tacit and explicitknowledge are constantly “amplified.” The four temporal modes of knowledge conversion constitute the “knowledgespiral” that drives the innovation of the organization (Figure 1). The knowledge creation model based on the theory oforganizational knowledge creation is sometimes called the SECI model (de Geytere, 2007). 3. WEBLOG AND DIGITAL LIBRARYMany KM initiatives and tools for engineering design firms are available in the literature, cf. Al-Ghassani et al. (2005);Carillo and Chinowsky (2006); Jonathan Cohen & Associates (2004); and Mezher et al. (2005). Most of them howeverrely on proprietary technologies and do not conform to Internet standards other than the prevalent HTTP and HTML forWeb publication. Cross-system interoperability and advanced application of Web technologies, such as Semantic Web(Berners-Lee et al., 2001) and Web feeds (Wikipedia, 2007d), therefore, cannot be achieved without major modificationsto the systems. In this section, Weblog and Digital Library, modern Internet technologies which overcome thesedifficulties and can be integrated as part of a knowledge management tool, are presented.
  • 3. 3.1 WeblogA weblog, or a blog, is a Web-based journal publication which consists primarily of periodic articles, normally in reversechronological order (Wikipedia, 2007a). Each article in a blog is called a blog entry. A person who publishes to a blog iscalled a blogger. To publish to a blog is called to blog, the gerund form of which is blogging. The totality of all blogs onthe Internet is called the blogosphere (Crystal, 2006; Wikipedia, 2007b). A blog entry usually consists of (1) the title, (2) the content, (3) the categories, tag names, or keywords of thecontent, (4) the date and time of publication, (5) the comment section where readers and the blogger can discuss andexchange experiences and opinions about issues raised in the blog entry, and (5) the trackback (Trott and Trott, 2002)hyperlink where the readers who blog about the blog entry can notify the original blogger about the existence and thecontent of theirs. Hyperlinks, comments, trackbacks, and citations among blogs create online social networks andpromote the externalization, socialization, and combination of knowledge among the bloggers, according to the SECImodel. Blogging is as easy as composing an e-mail. A blogger can blog about anything, ranging from news items, personalopinions, pictures, hobbies, problems at work, to random thoughts. A blog entry usually contains some hyperlinks to otherWeb documents which are the subjects of discussion. To publish a blog entry, a blogger logs on to his account on the blogservice provider Website, cf. Blogger (2007) and WordPress (2007), clicks the compose button, types the content into aWeb form, enters the title and keywords for the content, and clicks the publish button. The blog entry is instantlypublished to the Internet and can be accessed by friends, colleagues, and the public through regular Web browsers, Websearch engines, and dedicated blog reader software that conforms to the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) (RSS AdvisoryBoard, 2006) or Atom (Nottingham and Sayre, 2005) Web syndication standards. A blogger can also send e-mails to asecret e-mail address to publish the contents and picture attachments directly from an e-mail client software on a laptopcomputer or a mobile phone. Blogging thus allows people to share information on the Internet with very little barrier.Technorati, Inc., a major Web tracking company, reported that as of April 2007 there are 70 millions blogs on the Internet,with 120,000 new blogs each day, and 1.5 million posts per day. The blogosphere grew from 35 to 70 million blogs in 320days. Japanese, English, Chinese, and Italian are the four major blogging languages—37 percents of the blogs are inJapanese, 33 percents in English, 8 percents in Chinese, and 3 percents in Italian (Sifry, 2007).3.2 Digital LibraryA digital library is an integrated set of services for capturing, cataloging, storing, searching, protecting, and retrievinginformation (Reddy et al., 1999). It comprises the focused collections of digital objects, including text, video, and audio,along with methods for access and retrieval, and for selection, organization, and maintenance of the collections (Wittenand Bainbridge, 2003) all of which to support life-long learning, research, scholarly communication and preservation(Wikipedia, 2007c). Digital library was originally used to archive the digitized copies of rare documents, books, and thepictures of historical objects so that they can be studied by people of later generations. It has also recently been used as thecentral repository to preserve the works of individuals in an organization so that they do not vanish with time andtechnological obsolescence (DSpace, 2007b). A digital library system is often developed such that it is accessible on the Web, with the user interface resemblingthat of a Website. However, not all Websites, even the ones that offer focused collections of well-organized material andappropriate methods of access and retrieval, can be regarded as digital libraries, unless metadata (data about data), whichare the most important information to precisely catalog, locate and retrieve pieces of information, are stored along witheach object in the collections, and the access, retrieval, and modification of metadata, as well as the retrieval of objectsbased on them, are facilitated by the system (Witten and Bainbridge, 2003). The metadata typically used in digitallibraries include bibliographic information and subject keywords, which are also used in physical libraries. The users of a digital library system involve two roles, namely, the publisher and the reader. In some digital libraryimplementations, such as the Greenstone Digital Library software (Witten et al., 2006), a librarian takes the sole publisherrole to capture (e.g., by scanning printed articles or typing in a word-processor), create cataloging metadata, store,manage, and publish the collections of digital objects; and the general users take the reader role to browse, search, andconsume information in the collections. In other digital library implementations, such as DSpace (MIT Libraries andHewlett-Packard Company, 2007) which is based on the institutional repository concept, select users may also publish tosome collections in the repository, thus taking both the publisher and the reader roles. Computers and users can locateobjects across heterogeneous digital library systems by using standard query protocols, such as the Open ArchivesInitiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) (Lagoze et al., 2004). When a digital library system is deployedin an organization, it functions as a knowledge base which stores explicit and externalized knowledge from theemployees. The metadata-rich search feature of the system also allows employees to precisely and promptly locate piecesof knowledge which can be adapted to timely solve the problem at hand. In this regard, a digital library system thuspromotes the combination and internalization of knowledge in the SECI model.
  • 4. 4. BLOG+DL FRAMEWORK FOR COMPUTER-AIDED ENGINEERING DESIGN4.1 Technology Application FrameworkBased on the SECI model, the features of a KM system that promote the conversion and interaction of tacit and explicitknowledge among individuals are identified in this section, and the framework for the application of Blog and DigitalLibrary to build such a KM system is presented in parallel.Socialization and ExternalizationFrom Figure 1, the first part of the spiral of knowledge creation is interpersonal. It starts when a group of people that sharethe same interest gather, build a field of interaction, socialize, and externalize their tacit knowledge to share experiences.A desirable KM system should help these people to discover each other and provide them a convenient means forsocialization and externalization. The statistics about blogs in Section 3.1 may prove that Blog can be used as an effective KM tool in this regard. Blogpublication and the social networking features help people to discover each other and create online social networks ofbloggers on which issues of common interests are expressed and personal opinions, as well as experiences, are exchanged.When Blog is used as an engineering KM tool, an engineer may blog about a design problem that he is trying to solve, e.g.,how to setup a proper design criterion for a construction project. The blog entry may describe the engineer’s view towardsthe problem as well as the available approaches, and may also contain initial research work, such as hyperlinks to otherblog entries about “lesson learned” from similar projects. When published to the Internet or a corporate intranet, the blogentry is read by a large number of people, many of which may share the same interest or have experienced the sameproblem. A reader may assist the engineer in finding a solution by posting his opinion or experience, such as the limitationof the selected approach, as a comment to the blog entry. Another reader may view the problem differently and does notagree with the first reader’s opinion. He may prefer to express his opinion on a personal blog and notify the originalblogger in the form of trackback. The original blogger can participate in the discussion thread created by this series ofcomments and trackbacks and be able to find a more appropriate design criterion for his project. This blog discussionthread may also benefit a public audience who may have had the similar problem and comes across this discussion threadon a Web search engine. In this way, the group of people who share the same interest is gathered; a field of interaction ismade; and these people are equipped with a tool to socialize and exchange experiences, i.e., pieces of tacit knowledge, inthe blog discussion threads.Combination and InternalizationThe second part of the spiral of knowledge creation is intrapersonal. It continues from the interpersonal part when aperson tries to synthesize new explicit knowledge by combining different bodies of explicit knowledge to solve anunfamiliar problem. After the new knowledge is put into practice, it becomes a valuable know-how that is internalizedinto the person’s tacit knowledge base and becomes part of his skills. A desirable KM system should help people to easilybuild up repositories of explicit knowledge and allow relevant pieces of knowledge in the repositories to be convenientlyand precisely retrieved so that a more complete set of accessible knowledge can be gathered and combined into the bestpossible piece of new knowledge. In terms of internalization, a desirable KM system should also facilitate people inputting the new knowledge into practice by, for example, in an engineering context, providing them a convenient access torelevant computational software tools to shorten the time required in a design workflow. The keywords tagging and selective tag browsing features of Blog, as well as the metadata-rich content archiving andretrieval features of Digital Library, make Blog and Digital Library complementarily suitable to be effective KM tools inthis regard. Since blog entries created during socialization and externalization are typically tagged with keywords whenthey are published, besides conventional keyword and full text searches, the blog owner and the readers can use theselective tag browsing feature available in most blog servers to filter and browse only through relevant blog entries,allowing them to stay focused on the important topics being discussed. In addition, an engineer can archive the contentand the metadata of mature blog discussion threads, which contain pieces of externalized tacit knowledge and are thereflections of the group thinking processes by which solutions to important problems are made, into the collections of theinstitutional-repository digital library that he has a membership. He can also archive interesting Web pages, such asproduct data sheets, and digital contents, such as Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, Word, and MP3 files, into the collections. Inthis way, the engineer builds up a personal portfolio of knowledge that can be shared across the organization, and a digitallibrary, with its extensive metadata browsing and search features, as well as its full-text indexing capability, becomes ahuman-filtered search engine where portfolio owners and peers may use to access the focused set of relevant knowledgewithout “noises.” With all the mentioned features, Blog and Digital Library can thereby enhance the efficiency andeffectiveness of the combination and internalization processes of the individuals.
  • 5. Figure 1. Blog, Digital Library, and Knowledge Conversion Modes (adapted from Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995)4.2 System ArchitectureA system architecture that corresponds to the proposed application framework is presented in Figure 2. Sevencomponents, namely, the Web Browser, the Blog Server, the Digital Library Server, the World Wide Web, the Archiver,the Keyword Suggester, and the Web Service (WS) Portfolio Manager, are involved. The Web Browser is proposed as the primary user interface for convenient and ubiquitous access to the system andalso because Blog and Digital Library are themselves Web-based. An engineer can use a Web browser to create anaccount on a blog server and a digital library, and use it to log on to the blog server to socialize and externalize hisknowledge by publishing blog entries or joining blog discussion threads. The Archiver is a special-purpose component that monitors the request from a Web browser to take the “snapshot”of a blog discussion thread or a Web page and archive it to specific collection in a digital library. It is the primarycomponent that assists in building up the personal portfolios of knowledge. When a blog discussion thread has matured,the blog owner may summarize the discussion and use a Web browser take a snapshot of the thread. The Web browserwould prompt him to enter the metadata, such as the title, the author’s name, keywords, and a brief description of thethread, as well as his digital library account name and the title of the collection, i.e., portfolio of knowledge, to which he isallowed to submit. It would then delegate the task to the archiver by submitting the collected information along with theURL of the thread and request that a snapshot of the thread be taken and processed accordingly. In addition, an engineermay use the Web browser and the archiver to take snapshots of interesting Web pages, such as discussion threads, productdatasheets, or design tips, into his portfolio. During the combination and internalization processes, when explicitknowledge from various sources are crystallized into new explicit knowledge and put into practice, the engineer then usethe Web browser to access relevant discussion threads in blogs and pieces of knowledge collected in personal portfolios inthe digital library, as explained previously. Since Blog and Digital Library are independent technologies that do notnaturally interoperate; the use of common metadata is proposed to enable such interoperation, i.e., the keywords assignedto blog entries and digital library items should be from the same controlled set and the bibliographic information assignedto them should conform to the same data format (e.g., DD-MM-YYYY for dates) so that relevant knowledge in blogs andthe digital library can be retrieved simultaneously with a common search query. The Keyword Suggester is proposed asthe component that handles the enforcement of such common metadata. Besides exchanging and commenting on traditional documents and multimedia contents, an engineer mayparticipate in the SECI modes of knowledge conversion by exchanging and commenting on computational tools, such asmathematical routines, numerical analysis modules, and design shortcuts. An engineer can develop these computationaltools as subroutines (or methods, in the object-oriented programming paradigm) in favorite programming languages, suchas Java or VB.NET, and allow them to be remotely executed by other computers as Web services on the Internet. To“publish” a Web service, i.e., to make a subroutine available for remote access, an engineer first places the code of thesubroutine onto a Web service server, such as Apache Axis for Java or Microsoft Internet Information Server forVB.NET. The server would automatically generate the “Web service description document” that corresponds to thesubroutine. This document contains the instruction for computers and people on how to programmatically execute theservice. The engineer can next post the Web service description document in a blog entry, along with a brief description ofthe service, its theoretical explanation, and a user’s guide. In this way, the service is advertised and made accessible to the
  • 6. public. Discussions about the service, such as usage experiences, can be exchanged as blog comments and trackbacks inthe fashion similar to the ordinary use of blogs in socialization and externalization. The Web services published throughblog entries are discovered when the entries are visited by the fellow bloggers. Besides reading the contents, e.g.,descriptions and explanations, blog readers can execute the service or build up the portfolios of computational tools, i.e.,Web services, for later execution with the assistance of the Web service portfolio manager. The Web service portfoliomanager, a component added on to the blog server, detects whether the content of a blog entry includes a hyperlink to thedescription document of a Web service. If it does so, an “Execute” button and a “Save” button will be provided in the Webpage that displays the blog entry so that the readers can choose to execute the service or save it to the portfolios in theiraccounts for later uses. In the latter case, the user will be asked to provide the description of the desired Web service whena computational service is needed. The Web service portfolio manager would search the user’s portfolio and retrieve a listof Web services that best match the request. Once a Web service is selected by the user, the user can execute the Webservice by entering the input data and clicking the Execute button. The selection of Web services from portfolios and theexecution of Web services are performed intelligently according to the Semantic Web Services Framework forComputational Mechanics (SWSCM) (Vacharasintopchai et al., 2007). The Web service portfolio manager performs theservice consumer and the matchmaker roles in the SWSCM. The readers are referred to the mentioned reference forin-depth information about the Semantic Web Services technology and its application in engineering design. Figure 2. Blog+DL Framework for Computer-Aided Engineering Design 5. IMPLEMENTATIONBased on the proposed Blog+DL framework for computer-aided engineering design, a prototype system has beendeveloped to assist engineers in socializing and externalizing their knowledge, as well as in building up personalportfolios of knowledge and computational tools. The knowledge and tools in such portfolios can be combined andcrystallized into new knowledge and can also be shared with peers, super- and subordinates of the engineers to form alarger organizational KM system. The implementation of the prototype system follows the system architecture presentedin Section 4.2 which, excluding the World Wide Web, consists of six components, namely, the Web Browser, the Blogserver, the Digital Library server, the Archiver, the Keyword Suggester, and the Web Service (WS) Portfolio Manager. The prototype system was implemented in Java and JavaScript and utilized open-source software tools. MozillaFirefox (Mozilla, 2007), an extensible standards conformant Web browser which is available on Windows, Linux, andMac OS X, was chosen as the Web Browser component. Blojsom (Blojsom, 2007), a blog server developed in Java withextensive support for third-party add-on modules, was chosen as the Blog server. DSpace (DSpace, 2007a), a widelyaccepted large-scale Java digital library server based on the institutional repository concept, with extensive documentedset of APIs, was chosen as the Digital Library server. The Archiver was developed as a Java servlet that monitors therequests to archive documents at particular URLs along with the provided sets of metadata into specific collections in
  • 7. DSpace. A bookmarklet—a JavaScript code embedded in a Web browser bookmark—was developed as a bridging userinterface between Mozilla Firefox and the archiver. The bookmarklet was deployed as a “Save to DSpace” button inMozilla Firefox bookmarks toolbar. Once clicked it prompts the user to enter the brief description and the metadata of aWeb page and forwards the request to the Archiver to proceed. The Keyword Suggester was implemented as a servlet thatprovides ontology-assisted keyword suggestion. It consults a predefined set of ontologies to extract relevant keywordsfrom the Web contents at specific URLs. The bookmarklet uses the Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)programming technique to consult the Keyword Suggester and retrieve a list of suggested keywords for the Web pagebeing saved. The keywords are prepopulated into the “keywords” textbox to assist users in entering proper metadata.Ontology-assisted keyword suggestion is helpful to enforce a controlled set of keywords, which is necessary for theinteroperation of Blog and Digital Library and the effective retrieval of content in large digital library collections. Thesame functionality is also provided in the blog entry editing module of Blojsom to suggest proper keyword tags whenentries are created or modified. For increased productivity, a federated search function, implemented as a pair of Javaservlet and bookmarklet, was also developed to receive a query from the user, simultaneously search the blog entries inBlojsom and the digital library items in DSpace, and summarize the results into a single Web page. The Web serviceportfolio manager was implemented as an add-on module to Blojsom and utilized the Semantic Web Servicesinfrastructure developed in Vacharasintopchai et al. (2007). 5. DEMONSTRATIONFigures 3 through 5 demonstrate the typical application of the prototype: Initially, an engineer needs to visit the homepageof the Blog and the Digital Library servers to create an account on the system. Next, he will be directed to the bookmarkletinstallation page where the system verifies his account name (Figure 3a) and generates the “Save to DSpace” and thefederated search bookmarklets (Figure 3b) which can be dragged and dropped to the bookmark toolbar of Mozilla Firefox.The engineer can now start blogging right away by visiting the “Add Blog Entry” page in his blog account and writingabout his ideas and plan for a project (Figure 4a). The Keyword Suggester is consulted in the background as the engineercomposes his blog entries. He will be presented with the list of suggested keywords in the “Smart Keyword Suggestions”section where, although not recommended, user-specified keywords can also be entered if desired keywords are notavailable (Figure 4b). When the “Add Blog Entry” button is clicked, the entry will be listed in the homepage of thecompany (Figure 4c), where recent entries from all staff members are aggregated. The ideas and plan of the engineer willbe read by colleagues and the opinions and experiences are exchanged in the “Comments” section (Figure 4d). The engineer can also use the “Save to DSpace” bookmarklet to archive discussion threads and potentially usefulWeb pages to his account in DSpace (Figures 5a, 5b) to build up his personal portfolio of knowledge (Figure 5c). He canthen use the federated search bookmarklet to simultaneously searched through the discussion threads and the portfolios ofknowledge contributed by him and the colleagues (Figure 5d) and the results will be summarized in a convenientlyaccessible Web page (Figure 5e). Web services published through blog entries can also be executed right away from theresults page with the assistance of the Web Service Portfolio Manager (Figure 5f). In this way, the engineer and his fellowstaff members are equipped with an integrated set of tools that can be used to better share explicit knowledge andexperiences. 6. CONCLUSIONThis paper has proposed a framework for the application of Weblog, Digital Library, and Semantic Web Servicestechnologies in engineering knowledge management. The framework is based on the theory of organizational knowledgemanagement which explains that knowledge is created by the interactions between tacit knowledge and explicitknowledge among individuals in an organization. In contrast to the KM initiatives in the late 1990s, the focus of thisframework is on facilitating the conversion, interaction, and sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge, which are the basesin creating knowledge itself, rather than on capturing the individual pieces of explicit knowledge. The proposedframework also differs from many modern KM tools for engineering design firms in the literature because it is based onvarious Internet standards besides HTTP and HTML and therefore promotes cross-system interoperability and advancedapplication of Web technologies, such as Web feeds and Web Services, which are the enabling technologies for Web 2.0,a.k.a. the social Web, and the Internet-based multiplatform distributed computing, respectively. The introduction ofSemantic Web Services technologies into the framework and the application of ontology, which is the fundamentalcomponent of the Semantic Web, in the implementation of the system prototype also open KM systems that conform tothe proposed framework to a wide variety of Internet-based artificial intelligence technologies that would further improvethe knowledge and the productivity of the engineers in today’s ever globalized and competitive world.
  • 8. (a) Account Verification (b) Personalized Bookmarklets Figure 3. User-specific Initialization of Prototype(a) Creating New Blog Entry (b) Ontology-assisted Keyword Suggestion (c) Recent Blog Entries (d) Discussion among Colleagues Figure 4. Blogging Features of Prototype
  • 9. (a) Archiving Discussion Thread to DSpace (b) Archiving Webpage to DSpace (c) Personal Portfolio of Knowledge (d) Federated Search (f) Web Service Execution (e) Search Results Figure 5. Knowledge Archiving and Retrieval Features of Prototype
  • 10. ACKNOWLEDGMENTThe writers would like to thank the Royal Thai Government Fellowship and the Asian Development Bank for theirfinancial supports. They would also like to thank the countless friends and colleagues whose constructive comments havecontributed to this research. The following open-source and public-domain software tools were used in theimplementation of the system prototype and the development efforts of their developers are thankfully acknowledged:Blojsom (Blojsom, 2007), DSpace (DSpace, 2007a), and Mozilla Firefox (Mozilla, 2007).REFERENCES1. Al-Ghassani, A. M., Anumba, C. J., Carrillo, P. M., and Robinson, H. S. (2005). Tools and Techniques for Knowledge Management. In Knowledge Management in Construction (Eds.: Anumba, C. J., Egbu, C., and Carillo, P.), Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, U.K.2. Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., and Lassila, O. (2001). The Semantic Web. Scientific American, 284(5): 34-43.3. Blogger (2007): Blogger Home Page. http://www.blogger.com.4. Blojsom (2007): Blojsom Home Page. http://www.blojsom.org.5. Crystal, D. (2006). Language and the Internet. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.6. de Geytere, T. (2007). A Unified Model of Dynamic Organizational Knowledge Creation: Explanation of SECI Model of Nonaka and Takeuchi. 12manage B.V. http://www.12manage.com/methods_nonaka_seci.html.7. DSpace (2007a): DSpace Home Page. http://www.dspace.org.8. DSpace (2007b): MIT’s DSpace Experience: A Case Study. MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard Company. http://dspace.org/implement/case-study.pdf.9. Jonathan Cohen & Associates (2004): Knowledge Management for Design Firms: Case Studies. http://www.jcarchitects.com/KM.html.10. Lagoze, C., Van de Sompel, H., Nelson, M., and Warner, S. (2004): The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. Open Archives Initiative. http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/openarchivesprotocol.html.11. Mezher, T., Abdul-Malak, M. A., Ghosn, I., and Ajam, M. (2005). Knowledge Management in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Consulting: A Case Study. Journal of Management in Engineering, 21(3): 138-147.12. MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard Company (2007): Introducing DSpace. DSpace Federation. http://dspace.org/ introduction/index.html.13. Mozilla (2007): Mozilla Firefox Home Page. http://www.mozilla.com.14. Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. Oxford University Press, New York, U.S.A.15. Nottingham, M. and Sayre, R. (2005): The Atom Syndication Format. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4287.16. Pollock, N. (2001). Knowledge Management: Next Step to Competitive Advantage. Journal of Defense Systems Management College, September-October 2001. http://www.providersedge.com/docs/km_articles/KM_-_Next_ Step_to_Competitive_Advantage.pdf.17. Quintas, P. (2005). The Nature and Dimensions of Knowledge Management. In Knowledge Management in Construction (Eds.: Anumba, C. J., Egbu, C., and Carillo, P.), Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, U.K.
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