Towards Ontology-Driven Information Systems: Guidelines to the creation of new methodologies to build ontologies

Open Access
Soares, Andrey
Graduate Program:
Information Sciences and Technology
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
August 07, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Frederico T Fonseca, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Frederico T Fonseca, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Mary Beth Rosson, Committee Member
  • David J Hall, Committee Member
  • Timothy William Simpson, Committee Member
  • Ontology-Driven Information Systems
  • Ontology
  • Information Systems
  • Methodologies
  • Scenarios
This research targeted the area of Ontology-Driven Information Systems, where ontology plays a central role both at development time and at run time of Information Systems (IS). In particular, the research focused on the process of building domain ontologies for IS modeling. The motivation behind the research was the fact that researchers have not yet produced comprehensive guidelines for building ontologies for IS. A recent survey reported that 60% of the respondents did not use any methodology to build their ontologies. Ontology engineering is still considered an art, rather than and engineering activity. The results of our preliminary research on building an ontology for a given domain revealed four important issues related to Ontology-Driven Information Systems. These issues are related to metamodels, procedural knowledge, temporal relations and knowledge acquisition. Based on these concerns, we set up a research to investigate existing methodologies that could provide principled guidelines to build ontologies and to overcome the issues raised in the preliminary study. We searched major bibliographic databases from which we selected 30 methodologies to investigate. The analysis of the methodologies was formulated around the core components of an ontology and the four issues raised in our preliminary research. We also discussed the methodological features that are relevant to the process of building ontologies for Information Systems. Our final results confirmed the four issues among the methodologies analyzed. Besides, axiomatization has emerged as another important issue for Ontology-Driven Information Systems. Moreover, the frequent use of scenarios in the initial steps of the methodologies motivated us to further investigate their use in building ontologies. We proposed to use the components of a scenario as the ontological constructs of a metamodel ontology. To illustrate the use of scenarios in the building of domain ontologies, we developed a proof-of-concept experiment. The experiment successfully showed that a scenario-based approach can help acquiring and representing relevant domain knowledge to be used in IS modeling, and can be used to improve the methodologies used to build ontologies.