GenTax: A Generic Methodology for Deriving OWL and RDF-S Ontologies from Hierarchical Classifications, Thesauri, and Inconsistent Taxonomies

  • Martin Hepp
  • Jos de Bruijn
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4519)


Hierarchical classifications, thesauri, and informal taxonomies are likely the most valuable input for creating, at reasonable cost, non-toy ontologies in many domains. They contain, readily available, a wealth of category definitions plus a hierarchy, and they reflect some degree of community consensus. However, their transformation into useful ontologies is not as straightforward as it appears. In this paper, we show that (1) it often depends on the context of usage whether an informal hierarchical categorization schema is a classification, a thesaurus, or a taxonomy, and (2) present a novel methodology for automatically deriving consistent RDF-S and OWL ontologies from such schemas. Finally, we (3) demonstrate the usefulness of this approach by transforming the two e-business categorization standards eCl@ss and UNSPSC into ontologies that overcome the limitations of earlier prototypes. Our approach allows for the script-based creation of meaningful ontology classes for a particular context while preserving the original hierarchy, even if the latter is not a real subsumption hierarchy in this particular context. Human intervention in the transformation is limited to checking some conceptual properties and identifying frequent anomalies, and the only input required is an informal categorization plus a notion of the target context. In particular, the approach does not require instance data, as ontology learning approaches would usually do.


Ontology engineering ontology learning OWL RDF-S reuse taxonomies thesauri classifications UNSPSC eCl@ss e-business 


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Hepp
    • 1
  • Jos de Bruijn
    • 1
  1. 1.Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), University of Innsbruck 

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