The Theory of Top-Level Ontological Mappings and Its Application to Clinical Trial Protocols

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Abstract

In the present paper we expound a methodology for the development of terminology systems and the construction of semantically founded knowledge systems. This method is based on ontological mappings using reference top-level ontologies, and is inspired by rigorous logico-philosophical principles. We outline a framework consisting of a system of formal tools designed to support the development of data dictionaries, taxonomies and knowledge systems. The core-module of this system named Onto-Builder is an internet-based software application for building context-sensitive data dictionaries. To ensure the broad acceptance of context-dependent descriptions within a diverse group of domain experts, a multistage quality assurance cycle has been established. Ontological mappings based on top-level ontologies are the foundation of a further module of the system, which assists the construction of knowledge systems out of terminology systems. The framework is intended to be applied to the medical domain, in particular to the field of clinical trials.