“Is It a Fleet or a Collection of Ships?”: Ontological Anti-patterns in the Modeling of Part-Whole Relations

  • Tiago Prince Sales
  • Giancarlo GuizzardiEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10509)


Over the years, there is a growing interest in employing theories from philosophical ontology, cognitive science and linguistics to devise theoretical, methodological and computational tools for information systems engineering, in general, and for conceptual modeling, in particular. In this paper, we discuss one particular kind of such tools, namely, ontological anti-patterns. Ontological anti-patterns are error-problem modeling structures that can create a deviation between the possible and the intended interpretations of a model. In this paper, we present two empirically elicited ontological anti-patterns related to the modeling of part-whole relations. In particular, these anti-patterns identify possible mistakes in the modeling of collectives (complex entities that have a uniform role-based structure) and functional complexes (complex entities composed of functional parts). Besides identifying these anti-patterns, the paper presents a series of rectification plans that can be used to eliminate their occurrence in models. Finally, we present a model-based computational tool that supports the automated detection, analysis and elimination of these anti-patterns.


Ontology-based conceptual modeling Anti-patterns Parthood 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information Engineering and Computer ScienceUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly
  2. 2.Laboratory for Applied OntologyISTC-CNRTrentoItaly
  3. 3.NEMO GroupFederal University of Espírito SantoVitóriaBrazil
  4. 4.Faculty of Computer ScienceFree University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly

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