An Ontology Design Pattern for Referential Qualities

author: Jens Ortmann, University of Münster
published: Nov. 25, 2011,   recorded: October 2011,   views: 2364


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Referential qualities are qualities of an entity taken with reference to another entity. For example the vulnerability of a coast to sea level rise. In contrast to most non-relational qualities which only depend on their host, referential qualities require a referent additional to their host, i.e. a quality Q of an entity X taken with reference to another entity R. These qualities occur frequently in ecological systems, which make concepts from these systems challenging to model in formal ontology. In this paper, we discuss exemplary resilience, vulnerability and a ffordance as qualities of an entity taken with reference to an external factor. We suggest an ontology design pattern for referential qualities. The design pattern is anchored in the foundational ontology DOLCE and evaluated using implementations for the notions affordance, resilience and vulnerability.

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