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Aligning Anatomical Ontologies: The Role of Complex Structural Rules
An ontology is a formal representation of a domain supporting a variety of tasks. A given domain is often represented by multiple ontologies, providing overlapping, yet different coverage and possibly differing in their representation of the domain knowledge. There is a need for creating mappings among such ontologies in order to facilitate knowledge sharing and reuse. Anatomy is central to the biomedical domain and several anatomical ontologies have been created over the past fifteen years. This paper presents some of the techniques we developed for aligning two large anatomical ontologies: the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) and the GALEN Common Reference Model (GALEN). Our approach first consists in aligning concepts across systems based on the lexical resemblance of their names and the structural similarity of their relations to other concepts. In addition, we created complex structural alignment rules for identifying mappings between groups of concepts and concepts that provably cannot have matches in the other system. Overall, about 44% of the FMA concepts and 69% GALEN concepts are characterized in the alignment, up from 4% and 13%, respectively, in our previous work. The advantages and limitations of the complex alignment rules are discussed.