This paper describes a framework for implementing distributed ontology-based knowledge management systems (DOKMS). The framework, in particular, focuses on knowledge management within organizations. It investigates the functional requirements to enable Individual Knowledge Workers (IKWs) and distributed communities (e.g., project teams) to create, manage and share knowledge with the support of ontologies. On the one hand, the framework enables distributed and collaborative work by relying on a P2P virtual office model. On the other hand, it provides a multi-layer ontology framework to enable semantics-driven knowledge processing. The ontology framework allows organizational knowledge to be modeled at different levels. An Upper Ontology is exploited to establish a common organizational knowledge background. A set of Workspace Ontologies can be designed to manage, share and search knowledge within communities by the establishment of a contextual (i.e., related to the aim of a group) understanding. Finally, Personal Ontologies support IKWs in personal knowledge management activities. We present an implementation of the designed framework in the K-link+ system and show the suitability of this approach through a use case. The evaluation of K-link+ in a real network is also discussed. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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