HARMONISEProject ID: IST-2000-29329
Total cost:EUR 1 943 358
EU contribution:EUR 1 943 358
Funding scheme:THN - Thematic network contracts
In today's Internet based economy, several major actors and an enormous number of small and medium operators are acting in the tourism environment, working separately but using few large standardised platforms provided by few key actors. One bottleneck of the whole system is that the taxonomy identification of the tourism domains and their semantic description are not able to relate the existing architectures in a unique robust structure. On the other side, the Web with its huge possibilities for newcomers creates new standards where it is nearly impossible to impose standardized communication protocols on a semantic level. Following the past initiatives, it seems clear that it is impossible trying to solve this situation creating a meta standard of the tourism, by standardising the main protocols and ontology. Our strategy is to operate a semantic reconciliation able to harmonize the semantic and technological differences existing among the structures, developing an ontology-based solution. The tourism services will be able to cope with different existing standards thanks to the created mapping among each of them.
The aim of Harmonise is to develop:
a consensus process that will compose an enlarged task force on Tourism Standards;
identification of a minimal set of concept as a starting point for a mediating tourism standard;
a reconciliation that allows the different partners to keep their specific ontologies and proprietary data formats, and carry on effective interactions.
This solution appears in opposition to previous attempts to gather all these diverse systems under a unique new standard. The central point of the project is the use of a tourism mapping tool representing core concepts of the tourism domain as well as free software mapping algorithms and software that allows the translation between some of the different concrete concept representations. In other words, it will allow the communication partners to keep their proprietary data formats and simultaneously allow interaction. The aim is to allow a dialog among those different protocols, transforming the fragmented services, data and events in a common environment, where those can be easily and transparently distributed with the help of a freely available mediator module.
A reconciliation among tourism standards will be the result of Harmonise, integrating a critical mass of information and services that are, until now, disperse and supported by non communicating standards, and to others as well. In order to reach this goal, HARMONISE should provide the means for the set-up of technological interoperability and for implementing co-operation models for software processes and for business processes.
The work packages are:
WP0 Integration of players;
WP1 Analysis of tourism standards;
WP2 Consensus Process and Minimum Ontology;
WP3 Technical and Methodological Support;
WP4 Reconciliation methodology, prototype development and validation;
WP5 System development and validation;
WP6 Marketing, dissemination, networking, business plan and on line access;
WP7 Project management.
The project is divided into 3 areas. The Umbrella structure and the ontology system: WP0, WP1, WP2.
The WP0 is the crucial task of Harmonise. During the first six/seven months the proposers will set up the Umbrella structure, i.e., Consortium, gaining the critical mass of key actors of the tourism sector. These actors will join the project as test standard providers.
In order to better develop the mapping, it is crucial to have the real perception of the standards in use, trying to understand the existing differences and, thus, the typology of differences, in terms of definitions and process, to be covered by our tool (WP1).
Once achieved a critical mass of standards the process will go on trough an analysis, done by the members of the consortium (WP2). Scope of this process is the identification of a minimum set of common terminologies, or also a minimum ontology, described by the means of common objects and their different syntactic description.
System development and tool implementation: WP3, WP4, WP5.
As a first part, WP3 will identify the proper modelling methodology, used to describe the minimum ontology, which will also serve as the interface means to WP4.
Then we will set up a process in order to merge the ontology and Consensus System with the tourism language (WP3).L%The following step will develop the basis for the implementation of a real reconciliation tool (WP4) merging the ontology process with the algorithm structure.
Finally a real mapping tool (WP5) will be used on the standards collected during the first months, the tool will be an operative engineered product available on the market.
Dissemination and Management: WP6, WP7.
These two WPs are horizontal WPs that will support the process to link itself to the market.
The role of the WP7 is, of course, also a management task for the entire project, and its aim is to integrate the different souls of the project.
The main expected results and milestones of Harmonise project are:
1. Set up an integrate process with the main European tourism key actors (month 6/7).
2. Produce an exhaustive analysis of existing tourism ontologies (month 6/7).
3. Reaching a Consensus System among the actors involved in the process (month 12).
4. Setting up and testing this mapping algorithms with a prototype (month 14).
5. Develop ontology mapping among several standards, demonstrating and verifying the tool effectiveness in some important tourism standards (month 18).