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Conference Papers Year : 2023

Version control for interdependent ontologies: challenges and first propositions


The variety and quantity of health data have significantly increased due to healthcare improvements, making data interoperability an increasingly complex issue. Biomedical ontologies are a useful tool to support this interoperability. However, to provide an adequate coverage, ontological models can advantageously leverage a network of ontologies or part of ontologies, from various origins and strongly interdependent. While it fosters interoperability and minimizes duplication, this structure is very sensitive and any evolution of one of its parts requires more and more maintenance efforts. The challenge of tracking changes and assessing their effects is addressed in computer science through version control and while it has been applied to ontologies, applying this approach while importing parts of external ontologies and managing the potential impact of their evolution is a challenging task. This article focuses on OWL ontologies and two questions regarding their versioning are addressed: what should be versioned in an ontology and how to determine its identity? The current processes rely on a versioning at the level of the ontology, which raises problems that are discussed. Versioning at a more fine-grained level of so-called "OWL components" could mitigate such problems. We identify two kinds of entities as potentially relevant to their identity: the associated cognitive representations and assertive statements; being able to track both separately would be an effective way to mitigate the aforementioned problems. While further work is warranted to provide an operational definition of "OWL component", an approach along the lines proposed here can support not only at a better change management through a cohesive, complete and fined-grained version control, but also a better import process while contributing to support ontology engineering methods.
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hal-04301628 , version 1 (23-11-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04301628 , version 1


Paul Fabry, Adrien Barton, Jean-François Ethier. Version control for interdependent ontologies: challenges and first propositions. International Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO 2023), Aug 2023, Brasilia, Brazil. à paraître. ⟨hal-04301628⟩
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