Multi-facet product information search and retrieval using semantically annotated product family ontology

Soon Chong Johnson Lim, Ying Liu, Wing Bun Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


With the advent of various services and applications of Semantic Web, semantic annotation has emerged as an important research topic. The application of semantically annotated ontology had been evident in numerous information processing and retrieval tasks. One of such tasks is utilizing the semantically annotated ontology in product design which is able to suggest many important applications that are critical to aid various design related tasks. However, ontology development in design engineering remains a time consuming and tedious task that demands considerable human efforts. In the context of product family design, management of different product information that features efficient indexing, update, navigation, search and retrieval across product families is both desirable and challenging. For instance, an efficient way of retrieving timely information on product family can be useful for tasks such as product family redesign and new product variant derivation when requirements change. However, the current research and application of information search and navigation in product family is mostly limited to its structural aspect which is insufficient to handle advanced information search especially when the query targets at multiple aspects of a product. This paper attempts to address this problem by proposing an information search and retrieval framework based on the semantically annotated multi-facet product family ontology. Particularly, we propose a document profile (DP) model to suggest semantic tags for annotation purpose. Using a case study of digital camera families, we illustrate how the faceted search and retrieval of product information can be accomplished. We also exemplify how we can derive new product variants based on the designer's query of requirements via the faceted search and retrieval of product family information. Lastly, in order to highlight the value of our current work, we briefly discuss some further research and applications in design decision support, e.g. commonality analysis and variety comparison, based on the semantically annotated multi-facet product family ontology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-493
Number of pages15
JournalInformation Processing and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010


  • Information management and retrieval
  • Multi-facet
  • Ontology
  • Product family
  • Semantic annotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Library and Information Sciences

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