You are here
Law and Order: Assessing and Enforcing Compliance with Ontological Modeling Principles in the Foundational Model of Anatomy
The objective of this study is to provide an operational defnition of principles with which well-formed ontologies should comply. We define 15 such principles, related to classifcation (e.g., no hierarchical cycles are allowed; concepts have a reasonable number of children), incompatible relationships (e.g., two concepts cannot stand both in a taxonomic and partitive relation), dependence among concepts, and the co-dependence of equivalent sets of relations. Implicit relations - embedded in concept names or inferred from a combination of explicit relations - are used in this process in addition to the relations explicitly represented. As a case study, we investigate the degree to which the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) - alarge ontology of anatomy - complies with these 15 principles. The FMA succeeds in complying with all the principles: totally with one and mostly with the others. Reasons for non-compliance are analyzed and suggestions are made for implementing effective enforcement mechanisms in ontology development environments. The limitations of this study are also discussed.