A new EU-funded project is building multilingual internet programmes that will facilitate the presentation and retrieval of online information across a range of languages. The programmes will meet government, industry and business needs to make full use of the Internet's information dissemination potential. Launched in March of this year, the MONNET ('Multilingual ontologies for networked knowledge') project has received EUR 2.4 million under the 'Information and communication technologies' Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The Ontology Engineering Group, part of the School of Computing at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain, is coordinating the project which is scheduled to end in 2013. The collection, presentation and dissemination of information in a globalised world is one of the most important challenges facing society today. Citizens of all countries must be guaranteed access to information across language barriers. The Internet is now probably the world's most important and easily accessible repository of information, but it needs to be better exploited and organised. Many international organisations, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are calling for multilingual information management systems to be better organised as they have to offer the information they disseminate in a range of languages and also manage information submitted to them in many different languages. Easy access to multilingual information on the Web would also be good for developing countries as they could obtain information in their own languages, something which would help boost their involvement in the global market place. In response to these needs, the MONNET project is focusing mainly on public sector applications and business intelligence. For example, one of the project partners is a Netherlands-based company called Be Informed which will use the methodologies created in the project to provide multilingual access to the information and public services departments of the Dutch government. MONNET will also work with two other companies, SAP, an international software provider based in Germany, and Belgium-based XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) Europe, which provides business information. Both these companies will provide access to business solutions and financial information about business across different languages. The initial step for MONNET is to set up infrastructures for representing and accessing knowledge across languages. The partners will then get users to publish data in their own languages. One of the project's first activities will be a workshop to publicise international issues relating to infrastructures for accessing, retrieving and publishing multilingual information on the Web. This will be held on 27 April, as part of the International World Wide Web Conference in North Carolina, US. Other project partners working on MONNET alongside the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid's Ontology Engineering Group are the University of Bielefeld (Germany), the National University of Ireland, the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (Ireland) and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.
Belgium, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands