One criticism of Expert System (ES) technology is that it is very time consuming to build an Expert System compared to conventional Information Systems. The knowledge acquisition phase is the most thing to blame in this judgment. Knowledge Acquisition (KA) is the most expensive phase in knowledge based systems development. Also, it is a time-consuming process in which the Knowledge Engineer (KE) elicits problem solving heuristics (rules) that human experts use to solve a particular problem in some specific domain. To setup a knowledge acquisition session, a meeting has to be organized in a certain place where knowledge engineer and domain experts begin to document the problem solving heuristics. Organizing such meetings is time-consuming as it is difficult for domain experts to leave their sites frequently to attend such knowledge acquisition sessions. Usually, the acquired knowledge has to be verified after it was documented. This is another time-consuming phase.

To make the knowledge acquisition performed in an efficient way, it would be useful to allow domain experts provide their contribution remotely through the Internet. In this way, we save transportation time and effort and allow for an instant participation that can be performed any time. Another benefit is to allow for the participation of regional and international as well as resident experts. Motivated by this goal, the Web Knowledge Acquisition Tool (WKAT) was developed at the Central Laboratory for Agriculture Expert Systems (CLAES) to facilitate the knowledge acquisition process.

WKAT is a knowledge acquisition tool that enables collaboration of domain experts in different sites. This online help presents the tool and its components and how to use it to create, update, browse, and search a knowledge base. The knowledge is stored centrally in a web server.

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