Towards a hybrid methodology for domain ontology development

  • Santhosh John

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The last few years have witnessed a paradigm shift in the World Wide Web, from a global information space of connected documents to the Semantic Web. The Semantic Web offers an effective knowledge representation with appropriate formalisms. Based on ontologies it has emerged as an appropriate engineering solution for the problems of developing systems to ensure the integration of data from different sources with a high level of interoperability, providing seamless services to web users. Though Ontology Engineering and Software Engineering are two complementary engineering branches, the maturity and the popularity level of the latter is too high compared to the former. It is evident from the literature that there exists a gap in the ontology-engineering process in terms of the availability of standardised development-methodologies. Unlike Software Engineering, the absence of a standardised methodology for developing ontologies, limits the growth of ontology engineering, by restricting the pace of large-scale ontology development.

    The aim of this research is to analyse the well-known and widely used existing ontology-development methodologies and to explore the potential of proposing a methodology for ontology development by extending the mature process-models and methodologies of Software Engineering. Building from this analysis, the research proposes a methodology for domain ontology development and applies the proposed methodology to a chosen domain as a proof of concept. What uniquely distinguishes the proposed methodology from the existing methodologies is the underpinning hybrid approach of linear and iterative software process-models.

    This novel methodology classifies the core ontology development process into four stages and defines the development life cycle in terms of the hierarchy of its components. Specific workflows which encompass well-defined activities with a recommended list of techniques are the salient features of the proposed methodology. Furthermore, it has been applied for the prototype development of an educational domain ontology using Protégé as the development environment.

    The methodology has been validated by a group of evaluators with a rich set of proven research and development experience by following a custom-built evaluation framework.

    The proposed methodology can be considered as a fine choice for the future requirements of ontology developers. Moreover, it can be an ideal choice for software practitioners who wish to extend their expertise to the ontology-development domain, to assist in large-scale ontology development accelerating the realisation of a semantic web vision.
    Date of AwardAug 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorNazaraf Shah (Supervisor) & Craig Stewart (Supervisor)

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