Formal Ontology Engineering in the DOGMA Approach

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2519)


This paper presents a specifically database-inspired approach (called DOGMA) for engineering formal ontologies, implemented as shared resources used to express agreed formal semantics for a real world domain. We address several related key issues, such as knowledge reusability and shareability, scalability of the ontology engineering process and methodology, efficient and effective ontology storage and management, and coexistence of heterogeneous rule systems that surround an ontology mediating between it and application agents. Ontologies should represent a domain’s semantics independently from “language”, while any process that creates elements of such an ontology must be entirely rooted in some (natural) language, and any use of it will necessarily be through a (in general an agent’s computer) language.

To achieve the claims stated, we explicitly decompose ontological resources into ontology bases in the form of simple binary facts called lexons and into so- called ontological commitments in the form of description rules and constraints. Ontology bases in a logic sense, become “representationless” mathematical objects which constitute the range of a classical interpretation mapping from a first order language, assumed to lexically represent the commitment or binding of an application or task to such an ontology base. Implementations of ontologies become database-like on-line resources in the model-theoretic sense. The resulting architecture allows to materialize the (crucial) notion of commitment as a separate layer of (software agent) services, mediating between the ontology base and those application instances that commit to the ontology. We claim it also leads to methodological approaches that naturally extend key aspects of database modeling theory and practice. We discuss examples of the prototype DOGMA implementation of the ontology base server and commitment server.


Description Logic Formal Semantic Ontological Commitment Formal Ontology Knowledge Component 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VUB STARLabVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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