OMG ontology representation related standards (ODM, SBVR) and ISO 15926.

December 12, 2009

This is sequel to OMG SBVR and ISO 15926 post. I wonder but OMG ontology community and ISO 15926 community not knowing one another.

OMG is more than important in world of IT (this is organization that developed UML 2 standard, CORBA standard etc.). They provide a lot of ontology creation work (“metamodels” in their words, there are 4 level of “metamodels”: MOF is at level 0, UML is defined in MOF metamodel at level 1, “domain metamodels” defined in UML  at level 2 and actual model of a system is defined in this “domain metamodel” terms is at level 3. They call it MDA — model-driven architecture.

Recently OMG produced such “domain metamodel” for vocabularies and business rules domain as SBVR and discover a small piece of “true ontology” in it as conceptual scheme (while not much elaborated — UoM, time model etc. in this “ontology” is almost not defined). MOF/UML (and related XMI file format) is regarded by OMG as ontology definition language the same way as RDF/OWL (with triple store format). Therefore they start to think about ontology work, not only to metamodeling ad hoc, as it was earlier when all this metamodels at level 2 was independent of one another, but for general purposes. They start to discuss some sort of OMG ontology repository (like WIP RDL for ISO 15926) for OMGr ontology efforts.

OMG understand that besides MOF/UML there exist multiple ontology languages (from FOL to Topic Maps) and they develop “ontology conversion vehicle”:  Ontology Definition Metamodel (see presentation with pictures and goals and full text of version 1 on ODM standard. It seems that ISO 15926 can use somehow decision from this Ontology Definition standard (I know that not all questions about  ISO 15926 in RDF/OWL is resolved. May be this standard permit express ISO 15926 ontology and RDL in MOF/UML and Topic Maps — there are many software tools that can be used for work with ISO 15926 ontology and RDL after such ODM-enabled redefinition).

Also OMG have Production Rules Representation standard (there are 2 different presentations standard for rules: SBVR-defined “for general people” and PRR-defined “for IT-specialist”. This is similar to ISO 15926 that have different standards for ISO 15926 representation: “for general people” and “for IT-specialists”. As I understand people in ISO 15926 community want to use Gellish-like table representation as “for general people”. May be SBVR “controlled language” can be another example for same purpose: both of them is fact-oriented. Andries van Renssen many times writes about controlled language in Gellish but not elaborate this idea. SBVR people not elaborated table language idea but provide controlled language definition of fact-oriented formalism.

There is many way of uses in ISO 15926 of ideas from OMG ontology work. There are many similarities (e.g. “levels” of ontology representation languages like RDF, OWL then templates in ISO 15926 and MOF, UML then UML Profiles in OMG). Conceptualists from ISO 15926 community better than me know what to do with it.

My goal and suggestion is more simple: ISO 15926 should have separate part (e.g. ISO 15926-13) where will be defined rules along with fragment of ontology for vocabularies maintaining in ISO 15926 RDL. It will be used when we start using national and industrial dialects of the same terms. ISO 15926 software tools should support preferable vocabularies at browsing and editing level (e.g. if there is English term “method” to concept “method” and Russian term “метод” to concept “method”, there should be a way to show right term (picked up from right vocabulary) for naming a concept. The same is true for terms “metamodel”, “data model”, “ontology”, “schema” that in different industries often refer the same concept — it also should be defined in vocabulary level. Gellish support this with synonyms/homonyms mechanism and pointing to Language of this synonym. We are badly need ontology localization features. Like in computer program that ask what language of interface you prefer we need this feature in every RDL browser/editor, and (may be) it should be supported in OIM template level (to have localized templates: different words, same ontology). E.g. I want to name Valve as Клапан in Russian — still knowing that it is the same concept as your Valve. It is not clear how to provide this feature not in RDF/OWL representation of ISO 15926 only (like in new example for using 2 languages that was appear in recent edition of ISO 15926-8) but in an ontology level for all representations.

I think that I am not right person to develop “Vocabularies for ISO 15926 concepts” part by myself. May be I will be “advanced user” of it (“can use but can’t produce” 😉 ).I do not study SBVR vocabulary ontology, I only have a guess that SBVR text can be helpful for producing “Vocabularies for ISO 15926 concepts” part of standard.

What about mapping “business ontology” of SBVR and 4D aspects of it, there will be discussion when we start work with business activity modeling (we have such a plans).


2 Responses to “OMG ontology representation related standards (ODM, SBVR) and ISO 15926.”

  1. Dave Says:

    Hi Anatoly,

    Sorry, I realise you wrote this about 4 years ago! You mentioned “there are many software tools that can be used for work with ISO 15926 ontology and RDL after such ODM-enabled redefinition”. May I ask what tools. and what is the purpose of those tools?

    I’m a data information analyst but have a software engineering background, so I’m interested in ways of making standards such as ISO 15926 easier to manage. About a year ago I created an ISO 15926 online browser (, but have to say I work more with in-house class libraries and class library-driven information management.


  2. ailev Says:

    Dave, you are right, there was awesome 4 years since I wrote this post. Most of problems that I describe here was disappeared.

    Sure, you can use our freeware .15926 Editor for browsing and editing ISO 15926 data sources (RDF files and online SPARQL endpoints):

    You can find more ISO 15926 software here: (there are multiple implementations of ISO 15926 software but many developers not publish their software and quietly use it behind corporate firewall. Therefore you see there only very short list).

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