Gellish - A generic extensible ontological language - design and application of a universal data structure

ASHP van Renssen

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)


Abstract Since long data storage and data communication lack a common standard universal data model as well as a common data language for the application domains of database users. This hampers data communication between systems and causes costly data conversion processes. Various solutions have been proposed. However, those solutions either have a limited scope and are mutually incompatible or are difficult to implement.This thesis presents an integral solution to this problem in the form of the semantically rich standard Open Source Gellish English language. Gellish enables electronic data storage and data exchange in a neutral and system independent way. Gellish is relatively easy to implement.Gellish English is the English variant of Gellish and is a structured subset of natural English. Variants for other languages are under development. Gellish enables automated translations between language variants. This means that Gellish English messages can be displayed in any other language variant.Gellish is an extension and integration of the concepts defined in various ISO and non-ISO standard data models and dictionary standards. The Gellish language can replace data models, and provides an extendable ontology with standard reference data for customization and harmonization of systems.A Gellish implementation typically uses the Gellish Table, which is a single table, based on an object-relation-object structure, that is sufficient to express any kind of factual information.The Gellish Dictionary / Taxonomy / Ontology can be used among others to harmonize the content of existing systems, such as data in Design systems, ERP systems and Procurement systems. It also enables the integration of data from different sources, such as data from various engineering and E-Business applications. For example, it enables to describe product catalogues in a system independent way or to describe product requirements, equipment designs, equipment performance, business processes and business transactions so that they can be exchanged between different systems from different parties without the need to convert or translate the data. Usage of Gellish is supported by an Open Source website on
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Dietz, Jan, Supervisor
Award date14 Sept 2005
Place of PublicationDelft
Print ISBNs90-4072597-4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • authored books
  • Diss. prom. aan TU Delft

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