Ontology-Driven Conceptual Modelling - ER2002
by Nicola Guarino
Download pdf: part 1, part 2, part 3.
This tutorial is intended for researchers and practitioners who are interested in designing ontologies to support knowledge engineering and management, database modeling, software engineering, as well as business process modeling and enterprise integration. The tutorial gives a deeper insight into the ontological foundations and choices underlying conceptual modeling. It also provides a "tool bag" of solution strategies for common modeling problems, that are the result of a re-visitation of basic conceptual modeling primitives in the light of formal-ontological principles.
The reader is expected to have a basic understanding of first order logic. Unlike previous ontology tutorials, questions like "what is an ontology","what can you do with an ontology", or "why should I use an ontology", are only marginally addressed. Instead, the reader is expected be already interested in actually building ontologies.
The tutorial covers background material on conceptual modeling, knowledge structuring, and ontology in general. First we present the basic conceptual tools for ontological analysis, including the theory of parts and wholes (mereology), the theory of unity and plurality, the theory of essence and identity, as well as the theory of dependence. Then we show how one can, on the basis of these tools, specify a minimal set of metaproperties characterising the ontological nature of concepts and predicates used in a knowledge base or a database model/scheme. This set of metaproperties can be used to develop a powerful formal-ontological classification of concepts that can help to make basic conceptual modeling choices. These conceptual tools are presented from a theoretical and practical perspective, using real-world examples. The final part of the tutorial is entirely devoted to the application of the formal-ontological analysis to conceptual modeling, focusing on the elucidation of basic conceptual modeling primitives, as well as the guidelines for ontology design, especially the cleaning-up of taxonomies (with an extensive example).