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An Ontology-Based Annotation Framework for Representing the Functionality of Engineering Devices

[+] Author Affiliations
Yoshinobu Kitamura, Naoya Washio, Yusuke Koji, Munehiko Sasajima, Sunao Takafuji, Riichiro Mizoguchi

Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

Paper No. DETC2006-99131, pp. 125-134; 10 pages
  • ASME 2006 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4a: 18th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, September 10–13, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4258-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3784-X
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


This paper proposes a metadata schema relating to functionality based on Semantic Web technology for the management of the information content of engineering design documents. The schema enables us to annotate web-documents with RDF metadata, which represents devices as having specific functions. The metadata provide a clear and operational semantics for the functional terms in documents. The metadata schema is based on our own functional ontologies, which we believe to provide effective guidelines for consistent functional annotation. These ontologies have been developed over many years and deployed successfully in industry. We then demonstrate a document search system using the metadata, which enables us to retrieve web-documents using the types of function and relationships defined in the schema rather than more superficial terms. Such function-oriented management of information is especially useful in the conceptual design phase. It allows one to find previous cases of the same function in earlier designs and to find related patents. We go on to discuss the following two issues on the inter-operability of the functional knowledge. The first is automatic transformation of the functional model in our modeling framework into a chart-style form commonly used for the FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) activity using a mapping between our ontology and an FMEA ontology. The second is translation of the functional model between our functional vocabulary and other taxonomy of function, that is, Functional Basis proposed by Stone et al. Another mapping between our functional vocabulary and Functional Basis can be done via a richer, generic reference ontology of functions. This mapping would aim at clarifying ontological differences between functional taxonomies and enabling translation between them.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME
Topics: Ontologies



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