The main role of ontologies is to provide a clear understanding of terms used by different parties involved in information exchange. They are of special importance especially in those fields where the parties essentially differ. This is exactly the case in the domain of beef production and consumption where we find experts in: marketing and consumer research, economics of consumption, sensory analysis, chemical research, development of green areas, cattle feeding and farming, evaluation of material of animal origin, technology and chemistry of meat. That is why it was not surprising that the need of ontology was quickly recognised by the leaders of project ProOptiBeef – Optimising beef production in Poland according to strategy “from fork to farm”. The aim of the project is an attempt to increase the level of innovation in Polish beef sector through comprehensive research and development in the field of beef quality. Within the scope of ProOptiBeef there are experimental tasks such as for instance:
- controlled studies and observations of cattle fattening,
- analysis of the biochemical properties and evaluation of
- technological properties of meat,
- sensory analysis,
and more theoretical activities such as:
- comprehensive study of the literature on beef and
- creating interactive knowledge base containing information extracted from the literature and results obtained
- experimentally in the project.
The expected users of the results of the project are researchers working in the related fields, agricultural advisors and people directly involved in the process of beef production and consumption, such as: agricultural producers, processors, traders and consumers. All of them are expected to have the access to results of the project via Internet.
Taking into account the fact that the amount of information in the project is growing fast and that the information comes from different sources and research domains, the leaders of the project decided to create beef ontology covering categories and terms relevant for the project. The ontology is intended to help in expressing the results of the project in an unambiguous way. Moreover, the ontology can be used as a component of a system for searching information in a database of scientific articles created within the project and an expert system gathering the results of the project and revealing them to the public.