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CommerceNet Forms Alliance with Ontology.org

CommerceNet in Palo Alto, CA, the industry consortium for e-commerce companies, formed a strategic alliance with Ontology.org, identifying knowledge architecture as a central issue for next- generation Internet commerce.

Ontology.org, founded by Computer Sciences Corp. in May, is working with CommerceNet to address "the formation and substainability of large Internet trading groups." Ontology is a word adopted by researchers in artificial intelligence and knowledge representation. It refers to the semantic information attached to vocabulary and taxonomy, forming the building blocks from which domain models can be constructed.

Standardization of business models, processes, and knowledge architecture are critical to achieving the promised return on investment for Internet commerce. Yet commercial practices vary widely and cannot always be aligned, Ontology.org said.

"One obvious solution is the adoption of common standards for content and transactions, yet this is often difficult to achieve, particularly in a cross-industry initiative, where companies (both) cooperate and compete with one another," said Howard Smith, director of Ontology.org and a consultant in Computer Sciences' e-business practice.

"Ontology.org is establishing the foundational building blocks of Internet commerce where agreement can be reached, and creating the technical mechanisms that enable trading partners to dynamically form higher level commercial Internet agreements. In this way, Ontology.org can enrich and accelerate the standards process and provide complementary solutions, building on the existing body of research...in knowledge sharing, agent based architecture and enterprise integration," Smith said.

CommerceNet and Ontology.org will study the incorporation of ontology to XML- based architectures in research projects and industrial pilots. Results will be integrated with standardization efforts.

"Ontology will become an increasingly important aspect of electronic commerce and has the potential to dramatically expand the ability of the Internet to enable and support new business models," said Randall Whiting, President and CEO of CommerceNet. "CommerceNet's relationship with Ontology.Org will provide an enormous resource to our members to better understand the role of knowledge in interactive commercial relationships."

Founded in May 1998, Ontology.org has established a steering group of leading experts in the field of Ontology, XML and Internet commerce. Information about the steering group is available here.