An Algorithm for Merging and Aligning Ontologies: Automation and Tool Support

Natalya Fridman Noy and Mark A. Musen

As researchers in the ontology-design field develop the content of a growing number of ontologies, the need for sharing and reusing this body of knowledge becomes increasingly critical. Aligning and merging existing ontologies, which is usually handled manually, often constitutes a large and tedious portion of the sharing process. We have developed SMART, an algorithm that provides a semi-automatic approach to ontology merging and alignment. SMART assists the ontology developer by performing certain tasks automatically and by guiding the developer to other tasks for which his intervention is required. SMART also determines possible inconsistencies in the state of the ontology that may result from the user’s actions, and suggests ways to remedy these inconsistencies. We define the set of basic operations that are performed during merging and alignment of ontologies, and determine the effects that invocation of each of these operations has on the process. SMART is based on an extremely general knowledge model and, therefore, can be applied across various platforms.

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