Semantically Interoprable 3D Scientiﬁc Objects
knowledge embedded in multi-dimensional media, with focus on 3D content. This requiredthe development of both ontologies and knowledge bases capable of describing 3D objectsand processes, and data structures and tools used to associate semantics to 3D models. Itwas also necessary to build a common framework for managing, storing, reasoning, searchingand interacting with the semantic content related to the knowledge domain. This frameworkis the Digital Shape Workbench or DSW (AIM@SHAPE 2006
), one of the main outcomesof AIM@SHAPE, a common infrastructure which incorporates software tools, visual mediadatabases, and a digital library, all built on the basis of suitable ontologies and metadata.This paper aims at presenting this knowledge-based approach to 3D resource management,based on Semantic Web technologies for constructing semantically enriched components thatcan be integrated to form an environment for collaborative services. This provides a uniﬁedinfrastructure that is necessary for eﬃciently searching and retrieving 3D resources.The rest of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2 contains the motivation behind oureﬀorts and sets the associated background. Section 3 reviews related work. Section 4 shortlydescribes the conceptualization of the domain by the use of suitable ontologies. Section 5provides an overview of the Digital Shape Workbench main components. Section 6 describes, indetail, the design, implementation, integration and general technological issues associated withour knowledge infrastructure framework. Section 7 brieﬂy comments on the evaluation of thedeveloped system as this was deployed and still operates. Our concluding remarks, the proposedfuture work, and the envisaged research road-mapping towards semantic interoperability for 3Dcontent can be found in section 8.
2 Background and Motivation
3D media are digital representations of either physically existing objects or virtual objects thatcan be processed by computer applications. Beside the impact on entertainment and 3D web, theease of producing and/or collecting data in digital form has caused a gradual shift of paradigm invarious applied and scientiﬁc ﬁelds: from physical prototypes and experience to virtual prototypesand simulation. This shift has an enormous impact on a number of industrial and scientiﬁc sectors,such as Design and Manufacturing, Gaming and Simulation, Cultural Heritage and Archaeology,Medical Applications and Bio-informatics, where 3D media are essential knowledge carriers andrepresent a huge economic factor in many content sectors.