Category Archives: In proceedings | Dans actes

Semi-Automatic Mapping of WordNet to Basic Formal Ontology

Selja Seppälä, Amanda Hicks, and Alan Ruttenberg. “Semi-Automatic Mapping of WordNet to Basic Formal Ontology”. In V. B. Mititelu, C. Forăscu, C. Fellbaum, and P. Vossen, editors, Proceedings of the Eighth Global WordNet Conference, 369–376, Bucharest, Romania, January 27-30 2016.

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We present preliminary work on the map- ping of WordNet 3.0 to the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO 2.0). WordNet is a large, widely used semantic network. BFO is a domain-neutral upper-level ontology that represents the types of things that exist in the world and relations between them. BFO serves as an integration hub for more specific ontologies, such as the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) and Ontology for Biobanking (OBIB). This work aims at creating a lexico-semantic resource that can be used in NLP tools to perform ontology-related text manipu- lation tasks. Our semi-automatic mapping method consists in using existing map- pings between WordNet and the KYOTO Ontology. The latter allows machines to reason over texts by providing interpreta- tions of the words in ontological terms. Our working hypothesis is that a large portion of WordNet synsets can be semi- automatically mapped to BFO using sim- ple mapping rules from KYOTO to BFO. We evaluate the method on a randomized subset of synsets, examine preliminary re- sults, and discuss challenges related to the method. We conclude with suggestions for future work.

The Functions of Definitions in Ontologies

Selja Seppälä, Alan Ruttenberg, and Barry Smith. “The Functions of Definitions in Ontologies”. In R. Ferrario and W. Kuhn, editors, Formal Ontology in Information Systems: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference (FOIS 2016), volume 283 of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications, pages 37–50. IOS Press, Annecy, France, July 6-9 2016.

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To understand what ontologies do through their definitions, we propose a theoretical explanation of the functions of definitions in ontologies backed by empirical neuropsychological studies. Our goal is to show how these functions should motivate (i) the systematic inclusion of definitions in ontologies and (ii) the adaptation of definition content and form to the specific context of use of ontologies.

Enhancing terminological knowledge with upper level ontologies

Selja Seppälä and Amanda Hicks, “Enhancing terminological knowledge with upper level ontologies”, in Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Terminology and Artificial Intelligence (TIA 2015), Thierry Poibeau and Pamela Faber, Eds., CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vol-1495, Granada, Spain, November 4-5, 2015, p. 179-182.

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In this communication, we advocate the use of upper level ontologies such as the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) to enhance terminological resources and research. First, we present common issues in ontologized terminological work. Then, we review two projects that illustrate the potential advantages of integrating rigorous formal upper level ontologies. Finally, we discuss possible challenges and conclude with a sum- mary of the benefits that such ontologies can bring to both terminological theory and practice.

Textual and logical definitions in ontologies

Selja Seppälä, Yonatan Schreiber and Alan Ruttenberg, Textual and logical definitions in ontologies, in Proceedings of The First International Workshop on Drug Interaction Knowledge Management (DIKR 2014), The Second International Workshop on Definitions in Ontologies (IWOOD 2014), and The Starting an OBI-based Biobank Ontology Workshop (OBIB 2014), CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vol-1309, Houston, TX, USA, October 6-7, pp. 35-41.

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We discuss the structure and functions of definitions and axioms in ontologies from the perspective of a terminologist and logician respectively. By working through a few examples of the correspondence between parts of the textual definitions and the axioms, we show how to compare and contrast each and how each perspective reveals areas for improvement. Having established a correspondence between the textual and logical parts of ontology term definitions, we discuss the possibility of developing tools that help developers improve their ontologies. Such tools could be used to check both the textual definitions against the asserted axioms and vice versa. In addition, we propose a few other ways of checking the contents of textual definitions.

Applying the Realism-Based Ontology-Versioning Method for Tracking Changes in the Basic Formal Ontology

Selja Seppälä, Barry Smith and Werner Ceusters, 2014, “Applying the Realism-Based Ontology-Versioning Method for Tracking Changes in the Basic Formal Ontology”, Formal Ontology in Information Systems. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference (FOIS 2014), Amster­dam: IOS Press, 227-240.

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BFO mappings

Changes in an upper level ontology have obvious consequences for the domain ontologies that use it at lower levels. It is therefore crucial to document the changes made between successive versions of ontologies of this kind. We describe and apply a method for tracking, explaining and measuring changes between successive versions of upper level ontologies such as the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO). The proposed change-tracking method extends earlier work on Realism- Based Ontology Versioning (RBOV) and Evolutionary Terminology Auditing (ETA). We describe here the application of this evaluation method to changes between BFO 1.0, BFO 1.1, and BFO 2.0. We discuss the issues raised by this application and describe the extensions which we added to the original evaluation schema in order to account for changes in this type of ontology. The results of our study show that BFO has undergone eight types of changes that can be systematically explained by the extended evaluation schema. Finally, we discuss problematic cases, possible pitfalls and certain limits of our study that we propose to address in future work.

Extracting a Semantic Lexicon of French Adjectives from a Large Lexicographic Dictionary

Seppälä, Selja, Barque, Lucie, and Nasr, Alexis (2012). “Extracting a Semantic Lexicon of French Adjectives from a Large Lexicographic Dictionary”, in Proceedings of the First Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics, Montreal, Canada, June 7-8, pp. 161-169.

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We present a rule-based method to automatically create a large-coverage semantic lexicon of French adjectives by extracting paradigmatic relations from lexicographic definitions. Formalized adjectival resources are, indeed, scarce for French and they mostly focus on morphological and syntactic information. Our objective is, therefore, to contribute enriching the available set of resources by taking advantage of reliable lexicographic data and formalizing it with the well-established lexical functions formalism. The resulting semantic lexicon of French adjectives can be used in NLP tasks such as word sense disambiguation or machine translation. After presenting related work, we describe the extraction method and the formalization procedure of the data. Our method is then quantitatively and qualitatively evaluated. We discuss the results of the evaluation and conclude on some perspectives.

Création de clusters sémantiques dans des familles morphologiques à partir du TLFi

Nuria Gala, Nabil Hathout, Alexis Nasr, Véronique Rey et Selja Seppälä (2011) « Création de clusters sémantiques dans des familles morphologiques à partir du TLFi », dans TALN 2011, Montpellier, France, 27 juin-1er juillet 2011.


Building lexical resources is a time-consuming and expensive task, mainly when it comes to morphological lexicons. Such resources describe in depth and explicitly the morphological organization of the lexicon, completed with semantic information to be used in NLP applications. The work we present here goes on such direction, and especially, on refining an existing resource with automatically acquired semantic information. Our goal is to semantically characterize morpho-phonological families (words sharing a same base form and se- mantic continuity). To this end, we have used data from the TLFi which has been morpho-syntactically annotated. The first results of such a task will be analyzed and discussed.

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