An Application of the WebKB knowledge server:
An interface to Locate and Compare Short-term Accomodations on the Sunshine Coast

WebKB is knowledge base server (or ontology server). As opposed to database servers (data warehouse systems), it does not rely on predefined data structures and permit Web users to search, annotate, structure and store any kind of information at arbitrary levels precision or complexity. Hence, its use would bring more flexibility to current solutions for corporate memories or online services such as Yellow-Pages, Auctions, Classifieds, Shopping, Jobs and Personals.

As an illustration, an application of WebKB as an accomodation brokering on-line service is presented. An on-line form permits Web users to select short-terms accomodations, restaurants and attractions on the Sunshine Coast according to various criterias, have these selections highlighted by colored hyperlinked spots on zoomable maps, and have them compared via an attribute comparison table or sorted list (typically, by increasing order of price). As an example, the main form permits to select, locate and compare "hotels and bed-and-breakfasts charging less than 100 AUD a night, where check-out is no sooner than 11:00, without a minimum stay of 3 nights, and near an Asian restaurant".
Although the main form has to be predefined, some of its options lead to a system of cascading generated forms that exploits an ontology of English and permits the user to generate complex and unforeseen kinds of queries in a relatively easy way. Queries and statements can also be done directly via an expressive and relatively intuitive knowledge formulation language.

WebKB distinguishes itself from other ontology servers by its expressive and intuitive languages, and by permitting its users to update a large knowledge base, without lexical/semantic conflicts nor redundancies, and without forcing the users to agree with each other. It is also one of the rare knowledge base systems to exploit a natural language ontology and generate cascading forms to ease and normalize knowledge entering.