Ontology Learning and Semantic Annotation: a Necessary Symbiosis

Semantic annotation of text requires the dynamic merging of linguistically structured information and a ?world model?, usually represented as a domain-specific ontology. On the other hand, the process of engineering a domain-ontology through semi-automatic ontology learning system requires the availability of a considerable amount of semantically annotated documents. Facing this bootstrapping paradox requires an incremental process of annotation-acquisition-annotation, whereby domain-specific knowledge is acquired from linguistically-annotated texts and then projected back onto texts for extra linguistic information to be annotated and further knowledge layers to be extracted. The presented methodology is a first step in the direction of a full ?virtuous? circle where the semantic annotation platform and the evolving ontology interact in symbiosis. As a case study we have chosen the semantic annotation of product catalogues. We propose a hybrid approach, combining pattern matching techniques to exploit the regular structure of product descriptions in catalogues, and Natural Language Processing techniques which are resorted to analyze natural language descriptions. The semantic annotation involves the access to the ontology, semi-automatically bootstrapped with an ontology learning tool from annotated collections of catalogues
Published in 2008