Foundational ontology interchangeability with the Repository of Ontologies for MULltiple USes (ROMULUS).
The notion behind foundational ontologies is to have a single foundational ontology to serve as a basis for providing high-level entities and relations that are common between all ontologies in or- der to facilitate interoperability among heterogeneous systems. However foundational ontologies alone do not suffice in solving the problem of interoperability, due to the fact that many founda- tional ontologies exist, each with conflicting philosophies. The WonderWeb Foundational On- tologies Library (WFOL) was envisioned to facilitate interoperability, but not implemented, pos- sibly due to a lack of: ontology mediation (alignment, mapping and merging) techniques, docu- mentation and comparisons between foundational ontologies and modularisation techniques. In order to solve this problem, three widely used foundational ontologies: DOLCE, BFO and GFO were selected and a web-based repository, ROMULUS was created. Ontology mediation was performed to assist in achieving foundational ontology interchangeability between the selected foundational ontologies. Modularity was performed to simplify ontologies in order to easily perform mediation and to create modules for specific functions. ROMULUS provides the user with access to: new foundational ontology modules, mappings between foundational ontologies, merged foundational ontologies, a higher level foundational ontology containing only the most general entities common to the three foundational ontologies and a method to assist the user with performing foundational ontology interchangeability. The new modules in ROMULUS (separate endurant/perdurant modules, OWL 2 profile modules, and more/less-detailed ontology modules) are useful when one wants to perform functionality specific to the module type. The mapping and merged ontologies, which may be used together with the method for performing foundational on- tology interchangeability, allow a user to convert between the three foundational ontologies and to link an ontology using a particular foundational ontology to a different ontology that uses another foundational ontology, thereby achieving transparency. The higher level foundational ontology may assist in interoperability because it is a single ontology that encompasses entities that are common between all three foundational ontologies. ROMULUS has been evaluated in terms of its foundational ontology interchangeability, accuracy of alignments and by comparing it to other repositories. From the evaluations, we realised the following: While barely 50% of the participants agreed with the alignments, real disagreement was less than 10%; foundational ontology interchangeability may be achieved using the merged ontologies; ROMULUS offers advanced functionality for most criteria when compared to other repositories. Therefore there is reason to believe that ROMULUS does assist with foundational ontology interoperability.