The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

MSc Thesis #93138

Title:A Directed Automated Dialogue System for Eliciting, Representing and Accessing Knowledge in the Domain of Agroforestry
Date: 1993
Abstract:This project is an attempt to develop a new knowledge acquisition approach for the Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Project on which the Edinburgh AI Department is currently collaborating with Bangor University. The work centres on the construction of a directed dialogue system which elicits and internally represents knowledge in the domain of agroforestry, the knowledge source being a user not assumed to be highly computer literate. To represent knowledge in this domain, a formalism has been constructed which aims at a combination of simplicity (with the corollaries of tractability and user-friendliness) and expressiveness. The formalism is based on a goal-centred "pragmatic" view of the domain. The expressiveness of the formalism was tested by attempting to express within it the content of some 120 example sentences embodying native Sri Lankan and Nepalese knowledge of agroforestry. The test was largely successful. From the user's point of view, knowledge acquisition proceeds by the construction of formal English sentences. Various strategies were implemented for making this process as easy as possible. an additional dialogue program has been written, providing menus of queries which can be addressed to a knowledge base composed by means of the knowledge acquisition dialogue.

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