The general objective of this work is to provide domain- and resource-independent methods and tools for speeding up the ontology development process. This is achieved by reusing and re-engineering available non-ontological resources (NORs) as much as possible. To fulfil this overall goal, the author has decomposed this publication into the following methodological and technological objectives:
The definition of methodological aspects related to the reuse of non-ontological resources for building ontologies
The definition of methodological aspects related to the re-engineering of non-ontological resources for building ontologies
The creation of a library of patterns for re-engineering non-ontological resources into ontologies
The development of a software library, NOR2O, that implements the suggestions given by the re-engineering patterns.
Current well-known methodologies for building ontologies do not consider the reuse and possible subsequent re-engineering of existing knowledge resources. The ontologization of non-ontological resources has led to the design of several specific methods, techniques and tools. These are mainly specific to a particular resource type, or to a particular resource implementation. Thus, everytime ontology engineers are confronted with the task of re-engineering a new resource into an ontology, they develop ad-hoc solutions for transforming such resource into a single ontology.
Within the context of the NeOn project, we propose a novel methodology for building ontology networks: the NeOn Methodology, a methodology based on scenarios. One of these scenarios is Building Ontology Networks by Reusing and Re-engineering Non-Ontological Resources. As opposed to custom-building silos of single ontologies from scracth, this new scenario emphasizes the re-engineering of knowledge resources for building ontologies that are connected with other ontologies in the ontology network. The scope of this thesis lies in this scenario of the NeOn Methodology and in the use of re-engineering patterns for transforming non-ontological resources components into ontology representational primitives. Specifically, this thesis presents the following main contributions:
A categorization of non-ontological resources, made by defining the term non-ontological resources and by proposing a three-level categorization of them according to the type, data model, and implementation of the resource.
A metadata vocabulary, NoRMV, for describing non-ontological resources.
Methodological guidelines for reusing available non-ontological resources, which have reached some degree of consensus by the community when building ontologies.
Methodological guidelines for transforming the non-ontological resources selected into ontologies by re-engineering patterns.
A set of re-engineering patterns for transforming classification schemes, thesauri, and lexica into ontologies.
A software library, NOR2O, that implements the transformations suggested by the re-engineering patterns when building ontologies.
The integrated framework proposed in this thesis allows speeding up the ontology development, thus saving time and effort.
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