Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Helder Noel Monteiro Firmino, Gercina Ângela de Lima

Last modified: 2018-02-01


Extended Abstract

OntoM4IS: Ontology reuse method for Information Science[a]


Ontologies are commonly classified as a kind of knowledge organization system (KOS) such as classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies, folksonomies, and other similar types of controlled vocabularies. Ontologies are wide adopted as a KOS due his features to express knowledge (reality perceived by humans), promoting interoperability between human and machine agents.

Ontology is originally associated to Philosophy, but is widely used in other scientific areas as Computer science (CS) and Information Science (IS). CS and IS taked as loan the term ontology in the recent years, especially with the exponencial growth of Web, as a mean to model the reality and further representation in a format (e.g. OWL – Web Ontology Language). Ontology has its roots in Aristotle, but in our field the booster came with the emergence of semantic Web, where, some objectives are: promote interoperability, sharing (and reuse) knowledge between agents.

The  term  ‘ontology’  (or  ontologia)  was  coined  in  1613,  independently,  by  two  philosophers,  Rudolf  Göckel  (Goclenius),  in  his  Lexicon  philosophicum and Jacob Lorhard (Lorhardus),  in  his  Theatrum  philosophicum.  Its  first  occurrence  in  English  as  recorded  by  the  OED (Oxford English Dictionary)  appears  in  Bailey’s dictionary of 1721, which defines ontology as ‘an Account of being in the Abstract’ (1)

Above we mentioned Semantic Web, which isn't just about putting data on the web. It is about making links, so that a person or machine can explore the web of data. Linked data technologies enable the description and explicit relation of resources through URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), meaning that implicit relations with other resources can be found or inferred (2).

1. Problem

The organization of knowledge is a crucial task and the use of ontologies is fundamental to fulfill this purpose. The literature review suggest a lack of methods for construction of ontologies in the IS field. However some efforts were identified, such as the OntoForInfoScience (3), a methodological approach with concurrent support of three methods: NeOn, Method 101 and Methontology. This methodology addresses a aspect that is so important but notably unexplored, the reuse. Our object of analysis is to investigate the reuse of contents of ontologies, focusing in classes and properties.

2. Objectives

The aims of this paper is to present OntoM4IS. The acronym OntoM4IS, stands for Ontology Reuse Method for Information Science. The main idea is to reuse the content of ontologies, namely classes and properties. Moreover, it is seen as a novel contribution to IS field, namely in the organization of knowledge, providing a method for representation of knowledge.


3. Methodology

We will adopt a mixed approach, combining the best features of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. The Design Science Research (DSR) will be the suport for the process (4). As a philosophical assumption, the DSR is based on the pragmatic view. Pragmatism is a real-world, problem-centered philosophical view. We will use also qualitative research techniques, such as focus groups to validate some aspects of our proposal. Furthermore, as a research strategy, it will be followed the bibliographic research technique of published materials.

The DSR process has three cycles (see figure 1): Relevance Cycle, Design Cycle and Rigor Cycle. These three cycles act in three Spaces: Environment Space, Space Design Science Research and Space Knowledge Base.

Figure 1 - The three cycles of Design Science Methodology (4)


4. Related Work

The state of the art has shown that the proposed methods for the construction of ontologies are still incipient in IS’s area. A work has caught our attention, the OntoForInfoScience methodology, which is inspired by the upper level (and formal) ontology, BFO (Basic Formal Ontology). OntoForInfoScience is an ontology construction methodology based on three methodologies, NeOn, Methontology and Method 101. Reuse is a task that is emphasized and highly recommended in the proposal. This methodology has already been used and applied in the creation of two domain ontologies, Hemonto in the field of Biomedicine and Ontolegis in the legal area.

Many works have put the emphasis on reuse. ‘Ontologies can be reused in several ways: they sometimes result in the creation of an independent ontology from the concepts of others (which can be extended and adapted), and in other situations they preserve the original ontologies’ (5).


5. Expected Results

This article will present a work in progress comprised of the whole process starting on the literature review and further contributions, embodied in a method for reuse of ontologies.


[1]   Smith B. Ontology. In: Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information [Internet]. Oxford: Blackwell; 2003. p. 155–66. Available from: http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/articles/ontology_PIC.pdf

[2]   W3C. Semantic Web [Internet]. 2017. Available from: http://www.w3.org/standards/semanticweb/

[3]   Mendonça F. ONTOFORINFOSCIENCE: METODOLOGIA PARA CONSTRUÇÃO DE ONTOLOGIAS PELOS CIENTISTAS DA INFORMAÇÃO Uma aplicação prática no desenvolvimento da ontologia sobre componentes do sangue humano (HEMONTO) [Tese (Doutorado)]. [Belo Horizonte]: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais; 2015.

[4]   Hevner A. The three cycle view of design science research. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems. 2007;19(2):87–92.

[5] Campos ML, Campos MLM, Dávila AMR, Gomes HE, Campos LM, de Lira e Oliveira L. Information Sciences Methodological Aspects Applied to Ontology Reuse Tools: A Study Based on Genomic Annotations in the Domain of Trypanosomatides. Knowledge Organization. 2013 Jan;40(1):50–61.


[a]This article is funded by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil, under the Program PEC-PG