Ontologies in the context of product lifecycle management: state of the art literature review
The use of ontologies in the context of product lifecycle management (PLM) is gaining importance and popularity, while at the same time it generates a lot of controversy in discussions within scientific and engineering communities. Yet, what is ontology? What challenges have been addressed so far? What role does ontology play? Do we really need ontology? These are the core questions this paper seeks to address. We propose to conduct a comprehensive study of the concept of Ontology firstly in its domain of origin, Philosophy, and secondly in information science. Based on the understanding of this concept and an in-depth analysis of the state of the art, seven key roles of ontology are defined. These roles serve as a framework describing the general state of research on the use of ontologies in the context of PLM.