Contextual Alignment of Ontologies in the Ecoin Semantic Interoperability Framework
CISL Working Paper No. 2006-01
35 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2006
Date Written: January 2006
The prospect of combining information from diverse sources for superior decision making is plagued by the challenge of semantic heterogeneity, as data sources often adopt different conventions and interpretations when there is no coordination. An emerging solution in information integration is to develop an ontology as a standard data model for a domain of interest, and then to define the correspondences between the data sources and this common model to eliminate their semantic heterogeneity and produce a single integrated view of the data sources. We first claim that this single integrated view approach is unnecessarily restrictive, and instead offer the view that ontologies can simultaneously accommodate multiple integrated views provided the accompaniment of contexts, a set of axioms on the interpretation of data allowing local variations in representation and nuances in meaning, and a conversion function network between contexts to reconcile contextual differences. Then, we illustrate how to achieve semantic interoperability between multiple ontology-based applications. During this process, application ontologies are aligned through the reconciliation of their context models, and a new application with a virtual merged ontology is created. We illustrate this alternative approach with the alignment of air travel and car rental domains, an actual example from our prototype implementation.
Keywords: Intelligent Information Integration, Query Rewriting, Ontology Merging
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