Refining the Structure of Terminological Systems: Terminology = Schema + Views

M. Buchheit, W. Nutt, F. M. Donini, A. Schaerf

Traditionally, the core of a Terminological Knowledge Representation System (TKRS) consists of a so-called TBox, where concepts are introduced, and an ABox, where facts about individuals are stated in terms of these concepts. This design has a drawback because in most applications the TBox has to meet two functions at a time: on the one hand, similar to a database schema, framelike structures with typing information are introduced through primitive concepts and primitive roles; on the other hand, views on the objects in the knowledge base are provided through defined concepts. We propose to account for this conceptual separation by partitioning the TBox into two components for primitive and defined concepts, which we call the schema and the view part. We envision the two parts to differ with respect to the language for concepts, the statements allowed, and the semantics. We argue that by this separation we achieve more conceptual clarity about the role of primitive and defined concepts and the semantics of terminological cycles. Moreover, three case studies show the computational benefits to be gained from the refined architecture.

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