Knowledge and Information Systems

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 1–28 | Cite as

Ontology alignment design patterns

  • François ScharffeEmail author
  • Ondřej Zamazal
  • Dieter Fensel
Regular Paper


Interoperability between heterogeneous ontological descriptions can be performed through ontology mediation techniques. At the heart of ontology mediation lies the alignment: a specification of correspondences between ontology entities. Ontology matching can bring some automation but are limited to finding simple correspondences. Design patterns have proven themselves useful to capture experience in design problems. In this article, we introduce ontology alignment patterns as reusable templates of recurring correspondences. Based on a detailed analysis of frequent ontology mismatches, we develop a library of common patterns. Ontology alignment patterns can be used to refine correspondences, either by the alignment designer or via pattern detection algorithms. We distinguish three levels of abstraction for ontology alignment representation, going from executable transformation rules, to concrete correspondences between two ontologies, to ontology alignment patterns at the third level. We express patterns using an ontology alignment representation language, making them ready to use in practical mediation tasks. We extract mismatches from vocabularies associated with data sets published as linked open data, and we evaluate the ability of correspondence patterns to provide proper alignments for these mismatches. Finally, we describe an application of ontology alignment patterns for an ontology transformation service.


Ontology alignment patterns Ontology mapping Ontology alignment Ontology mediation Design patterns Data integration 



Ondřej Zamazal has been partially supported by the CSF Grant No. P202/10/1825.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • François Scharffe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ondřej Zamazal
    • 2
  • Dieter Fensel
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut National de Recherche, en Informatique et AutomatiqueMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.University of EconomicsPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.University of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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