Information Technology and Management

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 97–122 | Cite as

Resolution of Semantic Heterogeneity in Database Schema Integration Using Formal Ontologies

  • Farshad HakimpourEmail author
  • Andreas Geppert


This paper addresses the problem of handling semantic heterogeneity during database schema integration. We focus on the semantics of terms used as identifiers in schema definitions. Our solution does not rely on the names of the schema elements or the structure of the schemas. Instead, we utilize formal ontologies consisting of intensional definitions of terms represented in a logical language. The approach is based on similarity relations between intensional definitions in different ontologies. We present the definitions of similarity relations based on intensional definitions in formal ontologies. The extensional consequences of intensional relations are addressed. The paper shows how similarity relations are discovered by a reasoning system using a higher-level ontology. These similarity relations are then used to derive an integrated schema in two steps. First, we show how to use similarity relations to generate the class hierarchy of the global schema. Second, we explain how to enhance the class definitions with attributes. This approach reduces the cost of generating or re-generating global schemas for tightly-coupled federated databases.


database integration schema integration formal ontologies semantic heterogeneity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geographic Information Analysis Division, Department of GeographyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Credit SuisseZurichSwitzerland

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