Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

DOLCE modules

In principle, a foundational ontology should cover (provide notions and allow extensions for) all possible subjects that exist according to the philosophical stands it takes. Because of this, foundational ontologies can be of considerable size and need to include several primitive notions and derived (defined) terms. The overall ontology, comprising handreds of axioms and definitions, is usually quite complex and it is hard to ensure its quality when maintenance and other developments require to change or expand the ontology. To overcome these issues, it has been suggested to divive the foundational ontologies into (sub-) modules.

These can be seen as boxes that deals with independent primitive notions or even specialized domains. There are several advantages in having the ontology divided in modules, for instance a module can be analyzed by the developer to check the characterization of a primitive in isolation from the rest of the system or a module can be used to capture (and isolate) specific knowledge that is relative to some application domain only. Also, the relationship among modules gives important information on the interdependence among notions defined in the ontology in this way providing a very informative hierarchy of adopted/covered notions.

The user can take advantage of the division in modules by focussing on those more relevant to her work. In this way, she can reach a better grasp of the notions she needs to use without being overwhelmed by the overall structure of the ontology. Furthermore, the structure of the modules facilitates the population of the ontology at lower levels of the hierarchy since it makes it easier to individuate the correct point where the data should be added.

The DOLCE ontology has built-in a preliminary distionction in modules according to the motivations listed above. The modules have been isolated taking into account the basic relationships as well as the categories adopted and it is carried out on both the definitional part and the axiomatic part of the formal system. For instance, we have isolated the module of definitions on mereology, the module of definitions based on the notion of perdurants, and the one on dependence. The axiomatization is also divided in modules. For instance we have a module that comprises axioms for parthood, another for constituttion, and a third for participation.

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Institute for Cognitive Sciences and Technologies
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