Ontological Architectures

  • Leo Obrst


We distinguish between ontological architecture and ontology architecture, though they are closely related. Ontology architecture is emerging as a distinct discipline in ontology engineering – as an ontology development and deployment structure and methodology (Fernandéz et al., 1997). It necessarily also includes aspects of what is sometimes termed ontology lifecycle management (Andersen et al., 2006). In fact, ontology architecture can be considered to encompass ontology lifecycle management because the former lays out a general framework for the development, deployment, and maintenance of ontologies (which is the focus of lifecycle management), but also includes the interaction of applications and services that use ontologies, and an ontology tool and service infrastructure to support these. Ontological architecture is the architecture that is used to structure the ontologies that are employed by ontology architecture. As such, it addresses the levels of ontologies required (foundational, upper, middle, utility, reference, domain, and sub-domain ontologies), and mathematical, logical, and engineering constructs used to modularize ontologies in a large ontological space. This chapter focuses on ontological architecture, but it must be understood to underpin ontology architecture if only to ground/situate and enable the latter. Both kinds of architecture are relevant to ontology engineering, but we cannot address ontology architecture here until the very last section, when we look ahead. Instead, we focus on ontological architecture, which as it turns out, is a large enough topic.


Domain Ontology First Order Logic Formal Concept Analysis Semantic Interoperability Natural Language Semantic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Acknowledgments and Disclaimers

The author’s affiliation with The MITRE Corporation is provided for purposes only, and is not intended to convey or imply MITRE’s concurrence with, or support for, the positions, opinions or viewpoints expressed by the authors. I note that the views expressed in this paper are those of this author alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other organization or individual. I acknowledge deep appreciation for reviews of this material and suggestions to improve it by Roberto Poli and anonymous reviewers. Discussions (mostly electronic, but occasionally live) on these topics have been much appreciated, with Roberto Poli, John Sowa, Bill Andersen, members of the MITRE Information Semantics group including Ken Laskey, David Ferrell, Deborah Nichols, Mary Parmelee, Merwyn Taylor, Karla Massey, Jonathan Tivel, Frank Zhu, Richard MacMillan, and former or auxiliary members including Ken Samuel and Allen Ginsberg, and friends and colleagues including especially Suzette Stoutenburg (my best colleague and friend), Arnie Rosenthal (my best devil’s advocate and good friend), Len Seligman, Marwan Sabbouh, Peter Mork, my persevering and nascent ontologist wife Christy Obrst, and a pack of good dogs, cats, and chickens to mostly keep me level.


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© Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The MITRE CorporationMcLeanUSA

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