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Journal Article

A new Usage for Semantic Technologies for eGovernment: Checking Official Documents Consistency  pp120-133

Fred Freitas, Zacharias Candeias Jr, Heiner Stuckenschmidt

© Dec 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEG Conference Issue, Editor: Frank Bannister, pp83 - 235

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Semantic technologies, and particularly the ones related to the Semantic Web and its ontologies, have proven useful for many government related applications and prototypes, such as service configuration, automatic service connection among many others. This is possible because the Semantic Web is based on ontologies, which, in practical words, stands for a detailed conceptualization of a domain and its concepts, relations, constraints and axioms, defined in an unambiguous manner using formal logic. On the other hand, official documents, and particularly legal ones like law codes, often contain semantic deficiencies that are not realized by their authors. The most common among them are ambiguities, inconsistencies and under specifications. These deficiencies are certainly a source of systems’ and databases’ integration problems and confusion during their usage, when the definitions’ intended meanings can differ depending upon the stakeholder. During the ontology development of a domain as simple as vehicles, we have witnessed such phenomena. The necessity of defining the different vehicle types in detail for classification and checking purposes shed light on some of these deficiencies present in two Brazilian legal codes. In this work, we present the building process of the ontology, the resulting ontology and show how these deficiencies were evidenced during its construction. This fact actually opens up new possibilities in the usage of semantic technologies, as guides to check whether official documents are ontologically and logically correct, by not containing ambiguities, under specification or inconsistencies.


Keywords: ontology-based analysis of texts, semantic deficiencies, vehicles, eGovernment, law, ontology engineering, law consistency, official documents consistency


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