Subject Ontologies represent conceptualizations of disciplinary domains in which concepts symbolize topics that are relevant for the considered domain and are associated each other by means of specific relations. Usually, these kind of lightweight ontologies are adopted in knowledge-based educational environments to enable semantic organization and search of resources and, in other cases, to support personalization and adaptation features for learning and teaching experiences. For this reason, applying effective management methodologies for Subject Ontologies is a crucial aspect in engineering the environments. In particular, this paper proposes an approach to use SKOS (a Semantic Web-based vocabulary providing a standard way to represent knowledge organization systems) for modelling subject ontologies. Moreover, the paper underlines the main benefits of SKOS. It focuses on alternative strategies for storing and accessing ontologies in order to support the knowledge sharing, knowledge reusing, planning, assessment, customization and adaptation processes related to learning scenarios. The results of an early experimentation allowed the authors defining a framework able to support, from both methodological and technological viewpoints, the use of Subject Ontologies in the context of a Semantic Web-based Educational System. The defined framework has high performances in terms of response and this may really improve the user experience. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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