Using Knowledge Acquisition and Representation Tools to Support Scientific Communities

Brian R. Gaines, Mildred L. G. Shaw

Widespread access to the Internet has led to the formation of geographically dispersed scientific communities collaborating through the network. The tools supporting such collaboration currently are based primarily on electronic mail through mailing list servers, and access to archives of research reports through ftp, gopher and world wide web. However, electronic communication can support the knowledge processes of scientific communities more directly through overtly represented knowledge structures. This paper describes some experiments in the use of knowledge acquisition (ISA) and representation (KR) tools to define and analyze major policy and technical issues in an international research community responsible for one of the test cases in the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) research program. It is concluded that distributed knowledge support systems in routine use by world-class scientific communities collaborating through the Internet will provide a major impetus to artificial intelligence research.

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