Accepted Papers


"Knowledge-Based Systems for
Knowledge Management in Enterprises"

In conjunction with the:

21st Annual German Conference on AI '97 
(KI-Jahrestagung '97)

September 9th - 12th 
Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany


Papers accepted for presentation, in alphabetical order


From Paper to a Corporate Memory - A First Step

Stephan Baumann, Michael Malburg, Harald Meyer auf`m Hofe, and Claudia Wenzel
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, Kaiserslautern Germany

Abstract: Computer-based corporate memories aim at enabling efficient use of the knowledge in use at a company. Such systems demand access to certain portions of knowledge on themselves: The system either needs to know extracts of the corporate knowledge, or meta-aspects of the corporate knowledge need to be represented in the system stating how to use corporate knowledge effectively. Unfortunately, main parts of a corporate's knowledge is represented informally in unstructured text or paper-based documents. Consequently, system components are necessary to translate unstructured documents partially into a formal representation. This paper claims that techniques of document analysis can provide main contributions to both mentioned prerequisites if the representation of the corporate's workflow is known.

Knowledge-Based Interpretation of Business Letters

Karl-Hans Bläsius, Beate Grawemeyer, Isabel John, and Norbert Kuhn
Fachbereich Angewandte Informatik, Fachhochschule Trier, Germany

Abstract: The performance of document analysis systems significantly depends on knowledge about the application domain that can be exploited in the analysis process. Typically, one has to deal with different sources of knowledge like syntactic knowledge, semantic knowledge or strategic knowledge guiding the analysis process.
We present a knowledge based document anlysis system based on a knowledge representation language specially designed for document anlysis tasks. It allows to model and to interpret structural knowledge about documents and knowledge about the analysis process declaratively in a common framework.

ERBUS - Towards a Knowledge Mangement System for Designers

Manfred Daniel (1), Stefan Decker (2), Andreas Domanetzki (3), Christian Günther (4), Elke Heimbrodt-Habermann (5), Falk Höhn (6),Alexander Hoffmann (4), Holger Röstel (4), Regina Smit (3), Rudi Studer (3), Reinhard Wegner(5)

(1)Fachhochschule Schmalkalden, D-98574 Schmalkalden
(2)Institut für Angewandte Informatik und Formale Beschreibungsverfahren University of Karlsruhe (TH), D-76128 Karlsruhe
e-mail: {decker | studer}
(3)CID, Schwabacher-Str. 59, D-90763 Fürth
(4)Werkstatt für Design und Informatik, Bernsdorfer-Str. 210-212, D-09126 Chemnitz
e-mail: {guenther | hoffmann}
(5)Hochschule für Kunst und Design, Neuwerk 7, D-06003 Halle
e-mail: {haberman | wegner}
(6)Fachhochschule Hannover, D-30419 Hannover

Abstract: The goal of the BMBF project Works is to develop a methodology and a prototype for knowledge management systems: ERBUS is aimed at the support of designer and engineers, especially in ergonomic questions. Because of the nature of the knowledge available in ergonomics, it turned out that a conventional knowledge based approach was insufficient. Instead an integrated approach is necessary, which supports the whole design process and different kinds of knowledge. This paper delivers first results of the project: the framework of a general methodology and ERBUS architecture.

Knowledge Management mit CoMo-Kit
(in German)

Barbara Dellen, Harald Holz, and Gerd Pews
University of Kaiserslautern, Germany

Abstract: In diesem Papier beschreiben wir, welche Teile eines Unternehmensgedächtnisses mit dem Werkzeug CoMo-Kit verwaltet werden, wie dies geschieht und welchen Nutzen ein Unternehmen davon hat. Als flexibles Workfowmanagement-System kann CoMo-Kit Arbeitsprozesse und deren Abwicklung sowie Gründe für Entscheidungen dokumentieren, vorstrukturieren und über ein WWW-basiertes Informationssystem präsentieren. Weiter bildet die Reaktion auf Änderungen, sowie Um- und Weiterplanung einen Kernpunkt des Systems.

The Data Warehouse as a Means to Support Knowledge Management

Michael Erdmann
Institut für Angewandte Informatik und Formale Beschreibungsverfahren, University of Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract: This paper tries to provide a new view on the currently vastly discuss ed and successfully employed concept of a Data Warehouse. This view presents it in the light of Knowledge Management, i.e. a Data Warehouse can serve as a stora ge medium for keeping the corporate memory, or at least concerning certain types of data. It helps gaining new knowledge by delivering well integrated data to a nalysis tools, e.g. On-Line Analytical Processing or Knowledge Discovery in Data bases, and thus becomes an important part of Decision Support Systems or Executi ve Information Systems. In this way a Data Warehouse, storing only data, results in growth of knowledge and may lead to enhance the enterprise's success. The paper does not claim, that a Data Warehouse is the only thing an enterprise needs to perform successful Knowledge Management.

Multimediale Wissensräume - Werkzeuge für Aufbau, Wartung und Nutzung eines gemeinschaftlichen Unternehmens-Gedächtnisses
(outline of a talk, in German, Paper will not be presented at the workshop!)

H.-J. Frank
München, Germany


Knowledge Management in Global Health Research Planning
(Paper will not be presented at the workshop!)

C. Greiner and T. Rose
FAW Ulm, Germany

Abstract: It is increasingly recognized that the efficient supply of information and expertise is of critical importance for the success of many organizations. The adequate representation, utilization, and marketing of existing experience, expertise and competence of any organizations, which can be summarized by the term knowledge management, can be viewed in this context as a prerequisite, critical success factor, and even as commodities of modern organizations and enterprises.
This papers goes even a step further by raising the hypothesis, that "an adequate knowledge management can also improves the underlying business process". To verify this hypothesis a specific organization -the World Health Organization (WHO)- with a strategic mission is investigated. However, WHO is one representative of a typical user community with distributed knowledge resources; consequently, the gained findings can be generalized and in particular, the corporate memory identification and utilization process can be transferred.

A Framework for Knowledge Management Systems: A Proposal

Wai Keung (Daniel) Pun, Craig McDonald, and John Weckert
School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia

Abstract: Traditionally expert systems have been built from knowledge elicited from domain experts. However, knowledge in applied science domains is grounded in published sources like research reports, text books, articles and the like. This corpus of knowledge is typically inconsistent, dated, dispersed, and so on. The project described in this paper aims to construct a putative Knowledge Management System. The core of the system is a knowledge server that represents each publication and expert as a separate knowledge base, and a meta-knowledge base to allow different kinds of access to the server. Different client systems can be connected to the knowledge server to meet different user needs, such as forecasting, advice, explanation, education, and training. The server can also be a resource for researchers and research managers, by allowing hypothesis testing and reviews of the literature. Knowledge re-engineering is not necessary, as the system simply embodies what is in the domain. The knowledge is being represented in conceptual graphs and the test domain is irrigation. The work is being supported by the Cooperative Research Center for Viticulture.

Knowledge Integration for Building Organisational Memories

Ulrich Reimer
Swiss Life, Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract: The paper starts with a discussion of the roles an organisational memory (OM) sh ould play and what kind of knowledge should go into it. We then identify two kin ds of integration problems. The first one is concerned with integrating the know ledge bases of different knowledge-based systems employed in an organisation int o one physically or virtually unified knowledge base which is to be considered a s part of the organisation's OM. The second problem concerns the integration of several representations of the same knowledge with different degrees of formaliz ation, ranging from formally represented knowledge via semi-structured text to p lain text. This is an issue because formally represented knowledge, e.g. company regulations, often also exists in textual form, and both representations are ne eded for different kinds of tasks. It is argued that the two integration problem s mentioned can only be solved by making use of a high-level language whose repr esentation constructs are on the conceptual level (in the sense of Brachman) and which covers all representational needs. We argue that such a language can be m ade easy to use despite its being extremely comprehensive if the representationa l ontology underlying its constructs is represented explicitly.

Processes of Knowledge Preservation: Away from a Technology Dominated Approach
(Paper will not be presented at the workshop!)

Kai Romhardt
University of Geneva, Switzerland / Geneva Knowledge Group

Abstract: "Once we were able to do it, but now it seems that we have forgotten how." In times of reengineering, outsourcing and lean management, parts of the organizational memory become deleted without reflection, companies suffer from corporate amnesia and knowledge gaps appear if employees leave the company in a planned or unplanned way. Many companies have not defined principles for preserving the experiences of their organization. They do not stay in touch with their alumni and do not fall back upon their experiences. They miss the creation of "lessons learned" at the end of a project in order to preserve the most important findings for future teams. Although many companies invest heavily in documentation their employees have no access to these knowledge stores. Dead archives, dusty cabinets and minutes that are never read again are the symptoms of ineffective handling of a company's own knowledge and experience. Systems that are not up-dated on a regular basis are seen as dubious, will not be used and they will die (sometimes very slowly). This paper presents ideas on how to preserve the know-how of key knowledge workers even after they are gone, how to effectively use collective memory in dealing with knowledge. It shows the human side of the organizational memory without neglecting the electronical possibilities in our digital world.

The Acquisition of Novel Knowledge by Creative Re-Organizations
(position statement)

Franz Schmalhofer and James Stuart Aitken
DFKI Kaiserslautern, Germany and Dept. of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland

Abstract: For launching innovative products into successful markets, knowledge, its organization and its timely utilization are becoming the most decisive business factors in the currently emerging knowledge society. As Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) have convincingly pointed out, the companies of the future will live in an environment, where markets are continuously shifting, and uncertainty will be the only certainty that remains. The knowledge-based technologies which have been developed in Artificial Intelligence research, such as model-based approaches (Wielinga, Schreiber & Breuker, 1992) and formal ontologies (Gruber, 1993) are not yet sufficiently armed for adapting to such dramatic changes. In order to bridge this gap, it is therefore suggested that human comprehension, as it has been studied in cognitive science, can serve as a model for the constructive and creative learning processes that ought to occur in successful organizations and businesses. We describe the EKI system, (EKI = Evolution of Kreative Initiatives; Schmalhofer, Franken & Schwerdtner, 1997), with which the practitioners of a company can advertise their competences as independent agents and at the knowledge level (see Aitken, J. S., Schmalhofer, F. & Shadbolt, N.; 1994). A knowledge manager may then apply the methods of the EKI-tool for analyzing the company's knowledge assets with respect to possible business initiatives.

Making the Tacit Explicit: The Intangible Assets Monitor in Software

Charles Snyder and Larry Wilson
Dept. of Management, Auburn University, AL and LearnerFirst Inc., Birmingham, AL, USA

Abstract: One of the core principles of the Knowledge Management movement is that of capturing expertise and making it accessible to those in the organization who need it (see, e.g., Amidon, 1997; Stewart, 1997). The process of harvesting the tacit knowledge of the expert and converting it into a form that is available and useful presents some formidable obstacles. We explore the needs and the means to perform the needed activities that will result in a computer-based resource that fulfils those needs.
An example of the process is provided by describing the creation of the Intangible Assets Monitor as conceived by Karl-Erik Sveiby, the expert in this instance and one of the founders of the knowledge management community of practice. The result is a software product developed by LearnerFirst, a company that specializes in harvesting the knowledge of experts and incorporating it in computer-based learning resources. These learning resources encapsulate the tacit knowledge of an expert, placing it in explicit form. The software supports procedural knowledge-based tasks by providing the l earner with expert guidance on an as needed basis.
An example of the software generated from the Know-How Harvesting process will be demonstrated at the conference.

Knowledge Management for Electronic Product Catalogs at IBM
(position statement)

Markus Stolze
IBM Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract: Here at IBM research in Zurich I am now involved in a project where we create technology components for "smart" product catalogs. These catalogs support consumers in finding, composing, comparing and buying the virtual products they need. Up till now, we have assumed that knowledge about the products in the catalog will be highly formalised. However, in an open Internet context such an assumption has to be challenged and issues of ontology evolution and informal knowledge inclusion have to be dealt with. In my talk I would like to present some of the issues involved in creating knowledge structures that support comparability and configurability of products in open electronic catalogs.

Toward a Method for Providing Database Structures Derived from an Ontological Specification Process: the Example of Knowledge Management

Gary Templeton and Charles Snyder
Dept. of Management., Auburn University, AL, USA

Abstract: The paper describes the operation of a methodology used for ontologically specif ying the key concepts in the field of Knowledge Management. Ontological specifi cation is of particular interest to knowledge managers because associated method s support top management in the processing of tacit knowledge into a more expli cit form. The paper is a part of a larger project designed to utilize ontologic al processes for the building of a 'best practices database' in the KM field. I mplications of such a database involve greater speed in which dynamic and unstru ctured fields such as KM can develop into a more explicit and transferable form of knowledge.

WorkBrain: Merging Organizational Memory and Workflow Management Systems

Christoph Wargitsch
FORWISS Erlangen, Germany

Abstract: Despite the enthusiasm, the workflow management idea faces currently, some problems occur when setting up large workflow applications for complex business processes. To solve some of these problems, a combination of workflow management concepts and the notion of "organizational memory information systems" is suggested. The basic idea is to create an evolutionary workflow management system using an organizational memory storage component consisting of a workflow case base to save the workflow lessons learned and a storage for the general domain knowledge of an enterprise. The concept and a prototypical implementation of the system are presented. The example workflow we use to illustrate the system functions is the inquiry/pr oposal process of a roller bearing manufacturer.

Intelligent Systems for Customer Support: Case-Based Reasoning in Help-Desk and Call-Center Applications
(in German - Paper will not be presented at the workshop!)

Stefan Wess
TECINNO GmbH, Kaiserslautern Germany

Abstract: Recently, the case-based reasoning technology is often used in helpdesk, call center and self-help applications. In this paper we will show some scenarios for the use of CBR within these areas of customer support. We will first summarize the different application areas, describe the key topics and give some case studies of implemented and daily used CBR systems.