Modular Ontology Design using Canonical Building Blocks in the Biochemistry Domain

Document Type



The field of BioInformatics has become a major venue for the development and application of computational ontologies. Ranging from controlled vocabularies to annotation of experimental data to reasoning tasks, BioOntologies are advancing to form a comprehensive knowledge foundation in this field. With the Glycomics Ontology (GlycO), we are aiming at providing both a sufficiently large knowledge base and a schema that allows classification of and reasoning about the concepts we expect to encounter in the glycoproteomics field. The schema exploits the expressiveness of OWL-DL to place restrictions on relationships, thus making it suitable to be used as a means to classify new instance data. On the instance level, the knowledge is modularized to address granularity issues regularly found in ontology design. Larger structures are semantically composed from smaller canonical building blocks. The information needed to populate the knowledge base is automatically extracted from several partially overlapping sources. In order to avoid multiple entries, transformation and disambiguation techniques are applied. An intelligent search is then used to identify the individual building blocks that model the larger chemical structures. To ensure ontological soundness, GlycO has been annotated with OntoClean properties and evaluated with respect to those. In order to facilitate its use in conjunction with other biomedical Ontologies, GlycO has been checked for NCBO compliance and has been submitted to the OBO website.

APA Citation

Thomas, C. J., Sheth, A. P., & York, W. S. (2006). Modular Ontology Design using Canonical Building Blocks in the Biochemistry Domain. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems, 115-127.