When one Logic is Not Enough: Integrating First-order Annotations in OWL Ontologies

Tracking #: 3440-4654

This paper is currently under review
Simon Flügel
Martin Glauer
Fabian Neuhaus
Janna Hastings

Responsible editor: 
Guest Editors Tools Systems 2022

Submission type: 
Tool/System Report
In ontology development, there is a gap between domain ontologies which mostly use the web ontology language, OWL, and foundational ontologies written in first-order logic, FOL. To bridge this gap, we present Gavel, a tool that supports the development of heterogeneous 'FOWL' ontologies that extend OWL with FOL annotations, and is able to reason over the combined set of axioms. Since FOL annotations are stored in OWL annotations, FOWL ontologies remain compatible with the existing OWL infrastructure. We show that for the OWL domain ontology OBI, the stronger integration with its FOL top-level ontology BFO via our approach enables us to detect several inconsistencies. Furthermore, existing OWL ontologies can benefit from FOL annotations. We illustrate this with FOWL ontologies containing mereotopological axioms that enable new meaningful inferences. Finally, we show that even for large domain ontologies such as ChEBI, automatic reasoning with FOL annotations can be used to detect previously unnoticed errors in the classification.
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