Semantic Cooperation and Knowledge Reuse by Using Autonomous Ontologies

Y. Zhao, K. Wang, R. Topor, J. Pan, and F. Giunchiglia. Proceedings of the 6th International Semantic Web Conference and 2nd Asian Semantic Web Conference (ISWC/ASWC2007), Busan, South Korea , volume 4825 of LNCS, page 659--672. Berlin, Heidelberg, Springer Verlag, (November 2007)


Several proposals have been put forward to support distributed agent cooperation in the Semantic Web, by allowing concepts and roles in one ontology be reused in another ontology. In general, these proposals reduce the autonomy of each ontology by defining the semantics of the ontology to depend on the semantics of the other ontologies. We propose a new framework for managing autonomy in a set of cooperating ontologies (or ontology space). In this framework, each language entity (concept/role/individual) in an ontology may have its meaning assigned either locally with respect to the semantics of its own ontology, to preserve the autonomy of the ontology, or globally with respect to the semantics of any neighbouring ontology in which it is defined, thus enabling semantic cooperation between multiple ontologies. In this way, each ontology has a "subjective semantics" based on local interpretation and a "foreign semantics" based on semantic binding to neighbouring ontologies. We study the properties of these two semantics and describe the conditions under which entailment and satisfiability are preserved. We also introduce two reasoning mechanisms under this framework: "cautious reasoning" and "brave reasoning". Cautious reasoning is done with respect to a local ontology and its neighbours (those ontologies in which its entities are defined); brave reasoning is done with respect to the transitive closure of this relationship. This framework is independent of ontology languages. As a case study, for Description Logic ALCN we present two tableau-based algorithms for performing each form of reasonings and prove their correctness.

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