Ontology Alignment

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Ontology alignment, or ontology matching, is the process of determining correspondences between concepts in ontologies. A set of correspondences is also called an alignment. For computer scientists, concepts are expressed as labels for data. Historically, the need for ontology alignment arose out of the need to integrate heterogeneous databases, ones developed independently and thus each having their own data vocabulary. In the Semantic Web context involving many actors providing their own ontologies, ontology matching has taken a critical place for helping heterogeneous resources to interoperate. Ontology alignment tools find classes of data that are semantically equivalent, for example, "truck" and "lorry". The classes are not necessarily logically identical. According to Euzenat and Shvaiko (2007),[1] there are three major dimensions for similarity: syntactic, external, and semantic. Coincidentally, they roughly correspond to the dimensions identified by Cognitive Scientists below. A number of tools and frameworks have been developed for aligning ontologies, some with inspiration from Cognitive Science and some independently.