more on the status of the OMG ontology specification


There have been several recent emails on SW lists regarding the status
of the Ontology Definition Metamodel (ODM) work currently underway
within the Object Management Group (OMG).  For those unfamiliar with
ODM [1], it is intended to enable Unified Modeling Language (UML) and
Meta Object Facility (MOF) based modeling tools to support ontology
modeling, as well as import and export OWL.  There are three main
components to this:
1) a UML profile specifying a graphical syntax for ontology development,
2) a metamodel specifying an abstract syntax for the ontology
language(s) supported, and
3) a mapping between the metamodel and OWL.

The OMG standards process is vendor driven to encourage
implementation.  This means that vendors are given freedom to choose
how to respond to requirements in an RFP, and to broaden the scope of
their solution if it suits their business needs.  So it is with the
preliminary ODM submission mentioned in [2] and also available from
OMG via [3].  In addition to metamodels for RDFS and OWL, the current
submission includes metamodels for Topic Maps, ER diagrams, basic
Description Logic, and Simple Common Logic.  Absent from the current
version are any UML Profiles and mappings to OWL.  However, section 5
on UML and Ontology Modeling provide strong hints about what this
mapping may look like when complete.

Currently the deadline for a completed submission is 11 October.
However, this is unlikely to stand.  One reason for this is that the
mappings were to be specified using the MOF Query, View, and Transform
specification, but this specification itself is in a less stable state
then ODM.  I will be attending a conference [4] with a number of the
ODM submitters next week, and may learn more about the intended mapping
and plans for completing the specification.  In any case, the next OMG
where this is likely to be addressed formally will be held November 1-5.


Evan K. Wallace
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division

[1] ODM Request for Proposal

Received on Monday, 13 September 2004 16:15:20 UTC