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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.