The Knowledge Management Research Group

Multi-lingual Upper-Level Electronic Commerce Ontology (MULECO)


  • University of Klagenfurt
  • BTexact Technologies
  • The SGML Centre
  • CommerceWorks


The integration of e-commerce applications of different business partners is a major prerequisite for the participation of enterprises in the global market of the 21st century. Enterprises are forced to provide open application interfaces in order to allow the provision of B2x services in a worldwide marketplace.

When integrating applications based on different knowledge representation formalisms, ontologies can help to integrate these formalisms. There are many existing and proposed "electronic commerce ontologies", of which the vast majority have been defined monolingually, or in at most three or four languages from the same linguistic group. In practice different trading partners use different ontologies, and prefer ontologies developed in their native language or in a "neutral" language such as English. In such scenarios it is difficult to identify exact relationships between ontologies, and it is also difficult for people to find relevant terms in ontologies using their native language.

In order to tackle these challenges, the major objective of the MULECO project is the provision of a toolset supporting intelligent application deployment and integration in multilingual e-commerce environments, i.e. not providing proprietary solutions but general concepts for intelligent application deployment and integration.

The project will explore how best to develop a multilingual upper-level ontology for describing and identifying the relationships between electronic commerce applications and the ontologies used to describe them. In particular it will investigate how it is possible to integrate information relating to business processes with existing techniques for classifying businesses, their products and services.

While the major focus of MULECO is the integration of monolingual business applications into multilingual solutions, the concepts developed in the project can also be exploited in other application domains, such as knowledge management systems, helpdesk systems, or applications in public administration.

The aim of MULECO is to develop a mechanism that will allow existing ontologies to identify their inter-relationships by identifying the relationships between themselves and a set of terms defined in a multilingual ontology that has been designed specifically to allow people to find terms using their native language.

The following steps will be undertaken to reach the goals of MULECO:

  • Define a methodology that will allow the practical definition of a multilingual ontology based on sound linguistic principles
  • Develop an editor that is capable of recording the imprecise relationships that exist between multilingual sets of terms
  • Create an upper-level ontology that can be used to link together existing monolingual ontologies
  • Develop a query interface that will allow terms in the multilingual ontology to be used to identify terms in monolingual ontologies other than the terms being searched for.
  • Show the applicability of the developed methodology and tool set by a corresponding prototypical implementation using available agent platforms.


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