Ebook: Ontology Makes Sense
Nicola Guarino is widely recognized as one of the founders of applied ontology. His deep interest in the subtlest details of theoretical analysis and his vision of ontology as the Rosetta Stone for semantic interoperability guided the development and understanding of this domain. His motivations in research stem from the conviction that all science must be for the benefit of society at large, and his motto has always been that ontologies are not just for making information systems interoperable, but – more importantly – for ensuring that systems’ users understand each other. He was among the first to recognize that applied ontology must be an interdisciplinary enterprise if it is to capture the intended meaning of the terms used by an information system.
This book is a collection of essays written in homage to Nicola Guarino; a tribute to his many scientific contributions to the discipline of applied ontology. The papers presented here reflect the wide variety of research topics that marked Nicola's impact on the applied ontology community. They are grouped according to the five general areas addressed by Nicola in his career: what is an ontology; knowledge engineering; ontologies and language; ontological categories and relationships; and ontologies and applications.
Nicola Guarino's work and dedication will undoubtedly continue to influence the applied ontology community, and this book will be of interest to the many researchers aiming to establish ontologically sound bases for their research areas.
This book is written in homage to Nicola Guarino. It is a tribute to his many scientific contributions to the new discipline, applied ontology, he struggled to establish.
Nicola Guarino is widely recognized as one of the pioneers in formal and applied ontology. Renowned – and sometimes even criticized – for his deep interest for the subtlest details of theoretical analysis, all throughout his career he has held the conviction that all science has to be for the benefit of society at large, hence his motto that ontologies are not just for making information systems interoperable, but also – and more importantly – for making people (users of the systems) understand each other. He was among the first to realize that, to capture the intended meaning of the terms used by an information system, applied ontology has necessarily to be an interdisciplinary enterprise.
Nicola's early career developed in the areas of data systems and expert systems in physics and biomedical engineering. The lack of methodologies in expert systems led him to turn to philosophical logic as a source of inspiration, prompting him to attend the meetings of the analytic philosophy group at the University of Padua, and to discover a whole new world. It was the end of the 1980s and in that period the term ‘ontology’ started to be used to indicate a shared vocabulary across a community. Recognizing the potentials of this idea, Nicola began studying philosophical work. Knowing that language remains one of the pivotal elements in knowledge acquisition and representation, he paired it with the study of linguistic analysis. The combination of the two fields proved to be fundamental to shape his research vision, which could be summarized as: ontological analysis is hard, yet unavoidable to address the pervasive need for explicit, meaningful and transparent information systems. In other words, ontology makes sense.
This book is also a praise to Nicola's continuous efforts to build a community around the new discipline. Thanks to these efforts, we have nowadays an international association, a dedicated journal and a flagship conference, which have become a reference to all members of the community.
In 1998 Nicola inaugurated the conference series ‘Formal Ontology in Information Systems’ (FOIS), which marked the beginning of the new research area; twenty years later, FOIS is still the preferred venue for people to meet, and to present and discuss applied ontology issues. Soon he realized that the discipline was mature enough to have dedicated laboratories so, together with his collaborators in Padua, he joined the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC CNR) and founded the Laboratory for Applied Ontology (LOA)
After some years, he considered the need of establishing a journal specifically dedicated to ontological content, marking the distinction of foundational ontology, an approach based on deep and rigorous ontological analysis, from the approaches focused on syntactical and logical concerns, the so-called lightweight ontologies used in the Semantic Web. To this end, in 2005 he and Mark Musen founded the Applied Ontology journal.
What was still needed was a place open to the community for discussion and coordination of activities in applied ontology. This came in 2009, when the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA)
Nicola has always believed in the importance of having a research network spread at an international level, with nodes exchanging ideas, information and experience on scientific views and applications of ontology. One example is the International Laboratory on Interacting Knowledge Systems (ILIKS), a European joint virtual laboratory connecting the LOA, the IRIT in Toulouse and the University of Trento, that he established in collaboration with Laure Vieu (IRIT CNRS), and that collected research groups with expertise in computer science, engineering, cognitive science, education and economics.
Finally, this book is the result of the enthusiastic answers we, the editors, had from researchers around the world who belong to this community, who have been influenced by and, in turn, influenced the work of Nicola. Many others unfortunately could not comply with the strict schedule set for this book but made themselves available in other ways, e.g. to review the material and to participate in the public event organized for the presentation of the book.
Contributed papers reflect the large variety of research topics that marked Nicola's impact on the applied ontology community. We clustered them according to five general areas addressed by Nicola in his career and that are briefly described below. For each area we provide a few main references and invite the readers to explore the complete bibliography of Nicola's work to fully appreciate his views and interests.
I – What Is an Ontology?
In the nineties, Nicola published a series of papers devoted to develop an accurate analysis of some crucial notions that the community of knowledge engineering, at that time, was starting to refer to. In particular, he reacted to Gruber's definition of ontology – an ontology is “an explicit specification of a conceptualization” – by proposing his own analysis of what an ontology is, grounded on the formal characterization of the notions of conceptualization and ontological commitment, and on the careful distinction between ‘Ontology’ – the philosophical discipline – and ‘ontologies’ – the engineering artifacts. In his view, the term conceptualization has a semantic connotation, denoting an intensional relational structure (given in terms of possible worlds) that reflects a particular conceptual system. ‘Ontologies’ are instead logical theories devoted to capture given conceptualizations (their ontological commitments), i.e., theories whose intended models are intensional relational structures. At the same time, he started to stress the necessity, in the fields of knowledge representation and conceptual modeling, to introduce an ontological level to make explicit the meaning of the assumed primitives and to distinguish different kinds of ontologies according to their level of generality. In particular, he argued for the fundamental role of top-level ontologies – i.e., ontologies that describe very general notions (e.g. identity, parthood, dependence, or causation) or kinds of entities that are involved in the representation of most application domains (e.g., space, time, matter, object, or event) – in both the systematic development of ontologies and the improvement of interoperability and integration of information systems.
– N. Guarino. The ontological level. In R. Casati, B. Smith and G. White, editors, Philosophy and the cognitive sciences, pages 443–456. Hoelder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1994.
– N. Guarino, M. Carrara, and P. Giaretta. Formalizing Ontological Commitment. In Proceedings of the National Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-94), pages 560–567. Morgan Kaufmann, 1994.
– N. Guarino and P. Giaretta, Ontologies and knowledge bases: towards a terminological clarification. In N. Mars, editor, Towards Very Large Knowledge Bases, pages 25–32. IOS Press, 1995.
– N. Guarino. Formal Ontology, Conceptual Analysis and Knowledge Representation. International Journal of Human and Computer Studies, 43(5–6):625–640, 1995.
– N. Guarino. Formal Ontology in Information Systems. In N. Guarino, editor, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS'98), pages 3–15. IOS Press, 1998.
– N. Guarino, D. Oberle, and S. Staab. What Is an ontology?. In S. Staab and R. Studer, editors, Handbook on ontologies, pages 1–17. Springer, 2009.
– N. Guarino. The ontological level: Revisiting 30 years of knowledge representation. In A. T. Borgida, V. Chaudhri, P. Giorgini, and E. Yu, editors, Conceptual modeling: Foundations and applications: Essays in honor of John Mylopoulos, pages 52–67. Springer, 2009.
II – Knowledge Engineering
Beside clarifying the central notions of ontology and conceptualization, Nicola realized the complexity of, and the huge effort required for, the development of well-founded ontological resources. He then started to work on methodologies and tools able to manage the lifecycle of ontologies and to facilitate their use in information systems.
OntoClean was the first analytical methodology to evaluate and validate the ontological adequacy of taxonomies: by characterizing the classes in the taxonomy by means of philosophical notions (like essence, identity, rigidity and unity), it allows to impose some formal constraints on the structure of such taxonomy.
The IST Project WonderWeb
– N. Guarino and C. Welty. A formal ontology of properties. In International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management, pages 97–112. Springer, 2000.
– N. Guarino and C. Welty. Identity, Unity, and Individuality: Towards a formal toolkit for ontological analysis. In W. Horn, editor, Proceedings of The European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI'2000), pages 219– 223. IOS Press, 2000.
– C. Welty and N. Guarino. Supporting Ontological Analysis of Taxonomic Relationships. Data and Knowledge Engineering 39(1):51–74, 2001.
– A. Gangemi, N. Guarino, C. Masolo, A. Oltramari, and L. Schneider. Sweetening ontologies with DOLCE. In International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management, pages 166–181. Springer, 2002.
– C. Masolo, S. Borgo, A. Gangemi, N. Guarino, and A. Oltramari. The WonderWeb library of foundational ontologies and the DOLCE ontology, WonderWeb Deliverable D18 (final), 2003.
– N. Guarino and C. Welty. An Overview of OntoClean. In S. Staab and R. Studer, editors, Handbook on ontologies, pages 151–171. Springer, 2009.
III – Ontologies and Language
Nicola's cognitive approach to ontology led him to systematically refer to existing linguistic analyses of complex semantic phenomena. This was particularly significant for various features of Dolce. For instance, the chosen approach to qualities was influenced by linguistic questions related to B. Partee's analysis of “the room's temperature is ninety and rising”, and perdurant subcategories reflected famous distinctions in verb classes. So a deep relationship between ontology and language generally acknowledged in philosophy of language – although less so in metaphysics – is at the root of Nicola's work.
On the other hand, a significant impact of his methodological work can be found in the reorganization of linguistic resources like WordNet
– N. Guarino. Some ontological principles for designing upper level lexical resources. In A. Rubio, N. Gallardo, R. Castro, and A. Tejada, editors, First International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, pages 527–534. European Language Resources Association, 1998.
– N. Guarino, C. Masolo, and G. Vetere. Ontoseek: Content-based access to the web. IEEE Intelligent Systems and their Applications, 14(3):70–80, 1999.
– A. Gangemi, N. Guarino, C. Masolo, and A. Oltramari. Sweetening Word-Net with Dolce. AI magazine, 24(3):13–24, 2003.
– A. Gangemi, N. Guarino, C. Masolo, and A. Oltramari. Interfacing Word-Net with DOLCE: towards OntoWordNet. In Ontology and the Lexicon: A Natural Language Processing Perspective, pages 36–52. 2010.
IV – Ontological Categories and Relationships
Nicola introduced the ontological level as a bridge between the linguistic and cognitive levels, that he called the subjective levels, and the formal and logical ones, that motivate theories whose interpretation remains arbitrary. The ontological level helps to constrain the interpretation of the vocabulary primitives by setting postulates about the meaning of these terms. But how can the ontological level identify these meanings? To answer this question one has to delineate the boundary of the domains to be modeled, that may be at different levels of generality, ranging from top-level to application level. He thus proposed to see applied ontology as the science which “develops theories of the types of entities existing in (people's assumptions about) given domains of reality, and of the relations between these types.”
From a presentation of the Laboratory for Applied Ontology by Nicola Guarino.
From a presentation of the Laboratory for Applied Ontology by Nicola Guarino.
In Nicola's mind, the ontologist should make available a set of distinct theories that characterize types of entities and relations according to the different ontological stand one may adopt. Among these theories, some deal with notions that – although somehow specific – are necessary to talk about things in the world like space, time, change, physical objects, parts, events. In this vein, Nicola wrote some seminal papers in the nineties to study, from the conceptual and formal viewpoint, the relations of parthood and connection (theories known as mereology and mereotopology). In particular, his research focused on the use of these relations in applications and in natural language, and on their capabilities to characterise space, matter and (physical) objects.
Later on, he worked at the construction of a framework to characterize social reality and, in doing this, he and his colleagues proposed a theory of social roles where the ontological nature of these entities is spelled out. More recently, Nicola resumed the investigation of the notion of event and of the connection between the tensed and tenseless views, showing how these can be integrated in the same ontological framework. In the same period, he has also analyzed the interplay between events and relationships, where the latter are seen as truthmakers of relations.
– N. Guarino, Concepts, Attributes and Arbitrary Relations: Some Linguistic and Ontological Criteria for Structuring Knowledge Bases. Data and Knowledge Engineering, 8(2):249–261, 1992.
– A. Artale, E. Franconi, N. Guarino, and L. Pazzi. Part-whole relations in object-centered systems: An overview. Data & Knowledge Engineering, 20(3):347–383, 1996.
– S. Borgo, N. Guarino, and C. Masolo. A pointless theory of space based on strong connection and congruence. In L. Carlucci Aiello and S. Shapiro, editors, KR 96, Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, pages 220–229. Morgan Kaufmann, 1996.
– C. Masolo, L. Vieu, E. Bottazzi, C. Catenacci, R. Ferrario, A. Gangemi, and N. Guarino. Social roles and their descriptions. In D. Dubois and C. Welty, editors, Proceedings of the 9th Int. Conf. on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR 2004), pages 267–277. AAAI Press, 2004.
– N. Guarino and G. Guizzardi. “We need to discuss the Relationship”: Revisiting Relationships as Modeling Constructs. In International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering, pages 279–294. Springer, 2015.
– N. Guarino and G. Guizzardi. Relationships and Events: Toward a General Theory of Reification and Truthmaking. In G. Adorni G., S. Cagnoni S., M. Gori, and M. Maratea, editors, Advances in Artificial Intelligence, pages 237–249. Springer, 2016.
– N. Guarino. On the semantics of ongoing and future occurrence identifiers. In H. C. Mayr, G. Guizzardi, H. Ma, and O. Pastor, editors, Conceptual Modelling, Proceedings of the 36th International Conference, ER 2017, pages 477–490. Springer, 2017.
V – Ontologies and Applications
A paramount contribution of Nicola in the field of conceptual modeling and knowledge engineering consisted in providing an ontological foundation of the primitives used in their models, showing the necessity of making explicit the ontological commitments. Such analyses have prompted new perspectives on conceptual modeling languages as UML (Unified Modeling Language) and contributed to the elaboration of OntoUML.
More recently, Nicola began to focus on notions used in social ontology, working in eGovernment applications, in particular in the emerging discipline of service science, where he brought an important conceptual clarification on the different uses of the term ‘service’ in the business and ICT domains, by relying on a foundational analysis of the notions of commitment and activity. The attention to the economic perspective led to a related study of the notions of value and risk and to the modeling of the main principles of tax legislation and the core concepts of personal income taxes.
Starting from the analysis of services, Nicola soon realized that a sound representation of them could not do without an analysis and representation of the organization and social environment in which such services take place. Ontological modeling was then applied to whole socio-technical systems, and the resulting transparency of the organizational procedures and relative responsibilities became a fundamental element of resilience of the systems themselves. The application of such perspective led to a thorough analysis of business process modeling components, which allows to connect the organization and the information domains.
– N. Guarino, G. Guizzardi. In the defense of ontological foundations for conceptual modeling. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 18(1): Article 1, 2006.
– R. Ferrario and N. Guarino. Towards an Ontological Foundation for Services Science. In D. Fensel and P. Traverso, editors, Future Internet – FIS 2008, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 5468, pages 152–169. Springer Verlag, 2009.
– N. Guarino, R. Ferrario, E. Bottazzi, and G. Sartor. Open Ontology-Driven Sociotechnical Systems: Transparency as a Key for Business Resiliency. In M. De Marco, D. Te'eni, V. Albano, and S. Za,editors, Information Systems: Cross-roads for Organization, Management, Accounting and Engineering, pages 535–542, Springer Verlag, 2012.
– I. Distinto, N. Guarino, and C. Masolo. A well-founded ontological framework for modeling personal income tax. In Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law (ICAIL'13), pages 33–42. ACM, 2013.
– G. Guizzardi, N. Guarino, and J.P.A. Almeida. Ontological Considerations About the Representation of Events and Endurants in Business Models. In M. La Rosa, P. Loos, and O. Pastor, editors, Business Process Management. BPM 2016, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 9850, pages 20–36, Springer Verlag, 2016.
– T.P. Sales, F. Baião, G. Guizzardi, J.P.A. Almeida, N. Guarino, and J. Mylopoulos. The Common Ontology of Value and Risk. In J. Trujillo et al., editors, Conceptual Modeling. ER 2018. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 11157, pages 121–135 Springer Verlag, 2018.
As one can see from this list of topics and the contributions in this volume, Nicola's achievements have impacted the work of many researchers around the world. Nicola's role was even more important to some, among whom us, the editors of this book, as it significantly shaped their own careers.
We are sure that in the future Nicola's work and dedication will continue to influence this community as well as many researchers aiming to establish ontologically sound bases for their research areas.
We thank IOS Press, and in particular Maarten Fröhlich, for their continuous support, the contributors and the reviewers of this volume for their help in making this collection a reality.
Trento, January 2019
Ontology has come to gain huge currency in the information sciences, with techniques, applications, and results vastly exceeding the traditional concerns of philosophy. How did that happen? Where are we heading to? I do not have the answers. But I know what it took and what is needed. It took—and we need—the skills of a good Carnapian engineer, someone capable and willing to build bridges across fields even though each side regards them as a troublesome intruder.
Firstly, philosophy and science are compared by taking into account five aspects: critical attitude towards the assumptions, definitions and terminological rigor, formulation of a theory and its inferential development, control and external support, presence of a holistic approach. Secondly, for each aspect, some reasons that make the ontologies of Knowledge Representation closer to philosophy or closer to science are pointed out. Conclusions are different and not clear-cut. In the discussion of the fifth aspect Nicola Guarino's approach is emphasized and presented in the light of Carnap's notion of explication.
The integration between symbolic knowledge and machine learning is becoming more and more important today, although controversially absent from mainstream data-driven AI. Stemming from my research in academia and industry, this contribution discusses the role that Applied Ontology can play in modern AI approaches. I will claim that, by means of a cognitively-inspired foundational framework, a more effective synergy between the two disciplines can be established.
The paper aims to characterise the proper subject matter of ontology by drawing the boundary line between ontological and non-ontological categories. The account of ontological categories I sketch here defines them as equivalence classes of a certain family of equivalence relations that are determined by ontological relations. As a result, the demarcation problem for ontological categories turns out to be dependent on the demarcation problem for ontological relations.
Expert systems are artificial intelligence applications that rely on a formalization of knowledge extracted from human experts. Expert systems had been extensively built and exploited in industries during the 1980s and early 1990s thanks to their performances which were comparable to that of human experts. Knowledge engineering is a discipline born for building knowledge bases suitable to expert systems. Although based on the Feigenbaum's principle “Knowledge is power”, knowledge engineering has been struggling to deliver due to lack of solid foundations. Ontology engineering, a discipline initiated by Nicola Guarino in the early 1990s, contributed to the provision of the needed foundations and to the innovation of knowledge engineering itself. This chapter gives a brief account of the influence of ontology engineering to knowledge engineering, in particular taking into account the Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS) perspective as defined by Nicola in 1998. Some contributions made by his followers are also described.
Within Applied Ontology, ontologies are considered to be logical theories that are designed to support search, semantic integration, and decision support. More recently, there has been an effort to systematize this approach within a lifecycle for ontology development, analogous to that found in software engineering. In this paper we will see how the work of Nicola Guarino has laid the foundations for the rigorous discipline of ontological engineering.
This chapter describes the impact that Nicola Guarino's research has had on my own research and development, and Guarino's formal principles and analytical methods in applied ontology which I have in turn attempted to transmit to students and project collaborators through the years.
To the extent that ontologies are about meaning, it is curious that they have not yet engaged particularly with theories of signification, particularly with semiotic accounts of signification. This is in turn largely due to the fact that the analytic philosophical tradition, upon which work on ontology mostly builds, itself has weak semiotic foundations. One consequence of this is that many current discussions of the relation between language, particularly language resources, and general ontology oversimplify the semiotic complexity of the phenomenon of language in a variety of ways. In this contribution, I address this issue by considering a possible positioning of ‘language’, in the sense of full human natural languages, within the well developed foundational ontology DOLCE. I explore first how the properties of language push its ontological placement towards treatment as a particular kind of abstract quality space and consider some of the questions this raises. In conclusion, I suggest broadening the discussion to talk of meaning practices in general, rather than just those traditionally grouped under ‘verbal language’, which would help in establishing a bridge between foundational ontology and broader semiotic treatments of meaning-making.
WordNet is a large lexical database originally conceived as a model of human semantic memory. While its design loosely follows ontological principles, it was developed by linguists and psychologists without the benefit of input from philosophers. WordNet's unexpected popularity as a tool for Natural Language Processing and Knowledge Engineering revealed the irregularities of the lexicon and the need to clearly distinguish the lexical from the conceptual level consistent with ontological research, as articulated in the work of Nicola Guarino and his colleagues. This paper reviews WordNet's development from a lexicon to a resource that incorporates some ontological principles.
After the work of Nicola Guarino, formal ontology is available today as a powerful conceptual tool for information systems modelling. In particular, for shared conceptual models, the ontological characterization of predicative symbols may help clarifying their intended semantics. Yet, about twenty five years after Guarino's seminal paper, the penetration of formal ontological tools in modelling languages, as well as the spread of highly formalized conceptual models in business information systems, is still relatively low. This paper aims at elaborating some hypotheses about this fact. Concrete conditions for stipulating semantic agreements, depending on socio-technical architectures, are compared with assumptions of descriptive metaphysics as implemented in today's ontology engineering. As an outcome of this analysis, a clearer separation between linguistic concepts produced in human semiotic processes and metaphysic postulates emerges as a key move for overcoming difficulties and open the way to further developments.
In this paper I examine Guarino's recent tensed account of the semantics of ongoing and future occurrence identifiers, with an emphasis on placing his proposals in the context of the doctrines of eternalism, possibilism and presentism that have been variously espoused by philosophers of time.
The objective of the present essay is to clarify the nature of so-called ‘occurrences’ by attributing distinct modes of existence and persistence to processes and events. In doing so, we break away from the perdurance theory claimed by DOLCE's authors, and we distance our self from mereological analyses (such as those recently used by Guarino to distinguish between ‘processes’ and ‘episodes’). In line with the work of Stout and Galton, we first draw a parallel with how processes and objects endure by proposing that processes have a dynamic presence (contrasting with a static presence for objects). Next, we give events the status of abstract entities by identifying them with objects of thought (by individual or collective subjects). This allows one to distinguish between the existence and occurrence of events. We therefore define the latter as psychological or even social endurants, which may occur contingently.
In this paper we outline a foundational ontology of properties, attributives, and data. This paper takes up ideas in  and presents a new ontology of attributes, data and properties. This ontology was motivated by the need to contribute to the theoretical foundation for the evolving data science. The current situation of data overload is caused by lack of methods for abstraction and interpretation of data, but also by an insufficient understanding of the relation between data and knowledge. There is a need for an ontological foundation of these notions which provides a framework for the integration of the manifold of types of data. The first version of this ontology was presented in . In the current paper further details of this theory are elaborated and applied to various ontological regions, taken from physics, biology, and agent-driven process generation.
This paper presents new observations about ontologically dependent objects which cannot have a host-independent spatial location or a physical part structure, namely disturbances (holes, folds, scratches), tropes, and attitudinal objects (claims, thoughts, promises, requests). It proposes an account of such attributively limited objects in terms of Fregean abstraction, which has so far been applied only to abstract objects.
We consider the notion of reification as adopted in standard conceptual modelling languages and provide a logical formalisation using description logics. To this purpose, we use the description logic DLR+, an extension of the n-ary propositionally closed description logic DLR to deal with attribute-labelled tuples (generalising the positional notation), projections of relations, and objectification/reification of relations. This paper conducts a general investigation on the expressive power required on description logics to capture the different constructs used in conceptual models with a particular emphasis on relation reification.
Existing process modelling notations ranging from Petri nets to BPMN have difficulties capturing the essential features of the domain under study. Process models often focus on the control flow, lacking an explicit, conceptually well-founded integration with real data models, such as ER diagrams or UML class diagrams. In addition, they essentially rely on the simplifying assumption that each process model focuses on a single, explicitly defined notion of case, representing the type of objects that are separately manipulated when the process is instantiated into actual executions. To overcome this key limitation, Object-Centric Behavioural Constraints (OCBC) models were recently proposed as a new notation where data and control-flow are described in a single diagram, and where their interconnection is exploited to elegantly capture real-life processes operating over a complex network of objects. In this paper, we illustrate the essential and distinctive features of the OCBC approach, and contrast OCBC with contemporary, case-centric notations. We then relate the approach to recent developments in the conceptual understanding of processes, events, and their constituents, introducing a series of challenges and points of reflections for the community.
Enterprise modelling aims at representing and describing organisations through the use of models. As organisations can be viewed from many perspectives, there now exists a plethora of different kinds of enterprise models. As a consequence, a perennial problem in the area has been how to integrate, relate and align models. This paper suggests that a value-aware approach can help to address this issue, and it outlines how the construction of enterprise models can be informed by taking the notion of value into account. The approach chosen is ontology-based. An initial ontology for value ascription is proposed, which is used for showing how common kinds of enterprise models can be adjusted to accommodate the notion of value. The proposed approach is expected to support integration, harmonization and documentation of models as well as traceability between models.