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The GoodRelations Ontology: Making Semantic Web-based E-Commerce a Reality


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A promising application domain for Semantic Web technology is the annotation of products and services offerings on the Web so that consumers and enterprises can search for suitable suppliers using products and services ontologies. While there has been substantial progress in developing ontologies for types of products and services, namely eClassOWL, this alone does not provide the representational means required for e-commerce on the Semantic Web. Particularly missing is an ontology that allows describing the relationships between (1) Web resources, (2) offerings made by means of those Web resources, (3) legal entities, (4) prices, (5) terms and conditions, and (6) the aforementioned ontologies for products and services. (1NDN)

In the talk, I will explain the need and potential of the GoodRelations ontology, introduce its key conceptual elements, highlight several lessons learned, and summarize design decisions with respect to to modeling approaches and the appropriate language fragment, which may be relevant for other ontology projects, too.

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The GoodRelations Ontology: Making Semantic Web-based E-Commerce a Reality

  1. 1. The GoodRelations Ontology: Making Semantic Web-based E-Commerce a Reality Martin Hepp / Martin Hepp 1
  2. 2. E-Commerce on the Web World Wide Web Enterprise 1 Enterprise 2 Structured Structured Data on Data on Products and Products and Services Services (purchased (purchased and offered) and offered) Martin Hepp 2
  3. 3. E-Commerce on the Semantic Web World Wide Web Enterprise 1 Enterprise 2 Structured Structured Data on Data on Products and Products and Services Services (purchased (purchased and offered) and offered) Product Specifications: Type of Product, Features etc. Details of the Offering: Price, Eligible Regions, etc. Martin Hepp 3
  4. 4. 2001-2008: Semantic Web & E-Commerce: Lots of Papers, Limited Impact Martin Hepp 4
  5. 5. Use Cases • Commodity We sell some We sell some instances of We sell a particular We clean and repair offers sleeping the Marmot used instance sleeping bags. sleeping bag of the Marmot bags. model 1234. sleeping bag • Services model 1234. offers • Product model data interchange Martin Hepp 5
  6. 6. Required Ontologies • An ontology for product types and features • by function, usage, or nature • An ontology for offer specifications • An offer is basically a relation between • an agent, • a set of objects, • a set of property rights, • an audience, and • a set of terms and conditions. Martin Hepp 6
  7. 7. eClassOWL and GoodRelations • eClassOWL instanceOf eclassowl:TVSet foo:myTVSet • GoodRelations foo: MillerInc goodrelations:offersToSell foo:myTVSet Martin Hepp 7
  8. 8. within the domain name space of local dealers. 2.2 Competency Questions Next, we specify the scope and purpose of the GoodRelations ontology usingcompetency questions, which is a standard technique in ontology engineering methodologies [8]. The questions were discussed with stakeholders, namely the developers of recommender Competency Questions systems, operators of Web shops, and other domain experts. CQ1: Which retrievable Web Resources describe an offer • {to sell | to provide the service of | to repair | to maintain | to lease out | to dis- pose} • {a concrete individual | some unknown individuals} of • a {given good | given service | spare part for a given good | consumables and supplies for a given good} described by a {type of good | specific make and model} • that meet certain requirements on {properties | intervals for properties} • for which the offering party accepts a given method of payment and • provides a certain method of delivery • to {consumers | retailers} • in a given {country | region}? CQ2: For which time frame is the Part + Upper Ontology offer valid? CQ3:Hepp Martin Which types of customers are eligible? 8 CQ4: Which are the eligible customer regions? • Overview CQ5: Which shipping / delivery methods are available?
  9. 9. Requirements / Features • Support for ranges and units of measurements • Support for all common business functions, like sell, lease, dispose, repair, etc. • Compatible with eclassOWL and unspscOWL • Supports all ISO 4217 currencies • Supports defining eligible regions • Suits both for explicit instances, product models, and anonymous instances • Supports common delivery and shipping methods • Supports accepted payment methods • Offerings can be constrained to certain eligible business entities • A warranty promise, i.e., its duration and scope can be specified • Different prices for different types of customers or for different quantitities can be expressed • Charges for certain payment or delivery options can be specified; the latter also individually per region. • Support for product bundles, for all kinds of units of measurements (2 kg butter + 2 cellphones for € 99 would be no problem). • Compatible with international standards: ISO 3166, ISO 4217, UN/CEFACT, eCl@ss, and UNSPSC • Minimal requirements on reasoner support - any RDF-S-style reasoner, OWL DLP, DL, or ter Horst reasoner will work. • Supports price ranges, list prices, time-zones, EAN/UCC/UPC codes, GLN/ILN, and DUNS Martin Hepp 9
  10. 10. Data, Standards, Ontologies Martin Hepp 10
  11. 11. Core Conceptual Structure • Business Entities • Offerings • Products and Services • Web Resources Martin Hepp 11
  12. 12. Domain Capture Martin Hepp 12
  13. 13. Design Considerations • Suitable Ontology Language • Ranges and Intervals; Datatypes • Models, Classes, Instances • Existential Quantification • N-Ary Relations • Licensing Martin Hepp 13
  14. 14. Suitable Ontology Language Requirements: Approach: Use OWL DL syntax for RDF-S elements, i.e. a • Must work with Semantic Web infrastructure as subset of the closure of OWL available today DLP: • owl:Ontology Must work with lightweight, owl:Class RDFS-style reasoners owl:ObjectProperty • Combining the ontology with ontologies or owl:DatatypeProperty knowledge bases in OWL rdfs:subClassOf DL should not lead to a rdfs:subPropertyOf model beyond DL (e.g. rdfs:comment OWL Full) rdf:datatype • Avoid layering problems between RDFS and OWL rdf:type Martin Hepp 14
  15. 15. Ranges and Intervals hasValue rdfs:SubPropertyOf hasMaxValue, hasMinValue Martin Hepp 15
  16. 16. Models, Classes, Instances, and Existential Quantification gr:ProductOrService rdfs:subClassOf rdfs:subClassOf rdfs:subClassOf rdfs:subClassOf gr:ActualProductOrServiceInstance gr:ProductOrServicesSomeInstancesPlaceholder toy:TVSet rdf:type gr:ProductOrServiceModel rdf:type ex:mySony100 rdf:type rdf:type rdf:type rdf:type ex:TheSony100Model Problem: Inferring Requirement: Use the feature defaults for product same library of features for instances from the product models and products ex:SomeSony100s model if specified. Martin Hepp 16
  17. 17. Product Bundles Martin Hepp 17
  18. 18. N-Ary Relationships ProductOrServiceInstance typeOfGood includesObject amountOfThisGood Offering TypeAndQuantityNode Quantity hasUnitOfMeasurement Unit of Measurement Martin Hepp 18
  19. 19. License • Goal: Give adopters certainty about permanent, royalty free access to the ontology • Approach: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. Martin Hepp 19
  20. 20. Reusing Existing Consensus • Lot of pre-existing consensus • Countries • Currencies • Locations • Two basic approaches for reuse • As ranges for literal values • Replication as ontological instances Martin Hepp 20
  21. 21. Minimal Example 200.0 quot;C62quot; quot;quot;EURquot;quot; gr:hasCurrencyValue gr:hasUnitOfMeasurement gr:hasCurrency gr:Sell UnitPriceSpecification_1 rdfs:seeAlso gr:hasBusinessFunction gr:hasPriceSpecification GoodRelations Ontology gr:offers gr:includesObject TypeAndQuantity BusinessEntity_1 Offering_1 Products and Node_1 Services Ontology gr:amountOfThisGood Particular Offering gr:hasUnitOfMeasurement (Data) 1.0 gr:typeOfGood quot;C62quot; quot;CMTquot;quot; 30 gr:hasValue gr:hasUnitOfMeasurement toy:hasScreenSize QuantitativeValueFloat_1 MySony100TVSet rdf:type rdf:type toy:TVSet gr:ActualProductOrServiceInstance rdfs:subClassOf gr:ProductOrService Martin Hepp 21
  22. 22. Pick-up in Industry and Academia • Smart Information Systems • ebSemantics • Yahoo! SearchMonkey • Virtuose Sponger Catridges for Amazon, eBay, and others expected • etc. Martin Hepp 22
  23. 23. Diffusion Strategy • Make Creating GoodRelations Data Easy • Make Creating GoodRelations Data Attractive • GoodRelations Annotator and Validator • Search Engine Vendors • Exporters for popular Web • Recommender Systems Shops (using Triplify) • Foster the Development of Compatible Vocabularies • Converters for Catalog Data Interchange Standards • eClassOWL • Recipes and Patterns • ebSemantics • myOntology Martin Hepp 23
  24. 24. Client-side Rendering vs. Content Negotiation Martin Hepp 24
  25. 25. Discussion and Future Extensions • Richer Axiomatisation? • Disjointness Axioms etc. • Microformats Variant? Martin Hepp 25
  26. 26. Additional Information • Web Page •Ontology •Language Reference •Primer •Recipes •Wiki Martin Hepp 26
  27. 27. References 1. Hepp, Martin: GoodRelations: An Ontology for Describing Products and Services Offers on the Web, Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management (EKAW2008), Acitrezza, Italy, September 29 - October 3, 2008 (forthcoming), Springer LNCS, Vol 5268, pp. 332-347. 2. Hepp, Martin: Products and Services Ontologies: A Methodology for Deriving OWL Ontologies from Industrial Categorization Standards, in: Int'l Journal on Semantic Web & Information Systems (IJSWIS),Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 72-99, January-March 2006. 3. Hepp, Martin: The True Complexity of Product Representation in the Semantic Web, in: Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on Information System (ECIS 2006), June 12-14, 2006. 4. Hepp, Martin: ProdLight: A Lightweight Ontology for Product Description Based on Datatype Properties, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Business Information Systems (BIS 2007), April 25-27, 2007, Poznan, Poland, in: Abramowicz, Witold (Ed.): BIS 2007, Springer LNCS,Vol. 4439, pp. 260-272, 2007. These and other papers are available at Martin Hepp 27
  28. 28. Thank you! Martin Hepp / Martin Hepp 28