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Search Ontology, a new approach towards Semantic Search

We present an innovative system for semantic search, based on an ontology, called Search Ontology. The Search Ontology contains search terms, for which synonymous labels can be defined, and search concepts, specified by rules, that determine how search terms are combined with abstract NEAR or Boolean operators to describe corresponding concepts in documents. A search query can be generated from the ontological specification and executed on an information retrieval system such as Lucene1 afterwards. This approach has the advantage that the user can create powerful and complex queries by ontological specifications only, with minimal effort and without knowing the query syntax. The ontology itself is easily adaptable, extensible and reusable. No information contained in the ontology is used while preprocessing and indexing the documents, since the ontology is being constantly expanded by users of the system and changes in the ontology should not trigger new indexing and analysis for the whole document collection. The system is intended for domain experts, e.g., patent examiners or experts in the field of post-market surveillance of medical devices.

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