Extending ontological semantics for the domain of tourism: The case of Egypt as a destination

Dina H Mohamed, Purdue University


The main goal of this dissertation is to build ontology for tourism. Ontological semantics is an approach of Natural Language Processing (NLP) which takes advantage of the new technologies in computational semantics in the 1990s. Ontological semantics provides the tools to analyze the meaning of texts automatically. Its knowledge resources and reasoning modules can be useful in many NLP applications. Ontological semantics is committed to the principle of ‘complete coverage’. The principle entails that every sense of every word in the domain or application at hand should be represented. This principle ensures that ontological semantics will be able to process any text related to the domain. Ontological semantics uses a hierarchy of ontological concepts or a constructed world model. The ontological concepts are language-independent. The Word senses are acquired as lexical entries in the lexicon which is language-dependent. There is ontological mapping between each lexical entry and the concept which correctly represents its meaning. The process of acquisition is based on many guidelines of ontological semantics which should be put into consideration. The process is not complicated as it might seem to be. All the guidelines and axioms which should be followed are clearly defined by the ontology developers. I have chosen the domain of tourism because of the large amount of information on tourism everywhere and especially on the web. Many applications related to tourism can benefit from NLP. Such applications include machine translation, information retrieval, and question-answering systems. Using NLP for these applications reduces a great amount of human effort that would instead be needed. The choice of Egypt as a destination gave me the chance to start developing other ontologies as well. The dominant religion in Egypt is Islam. Therefore, there is some information about Islam on all the websites. In addition, history is one of the main attractions of Egypt because Egypt has one of the oldest civilizations of the world. In addition, the Islam and History ontologies can be part of the tourism domain if we deal with a destination which has the same culture and/or attractions of Egypt.




Raskin, Purdue University.

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