Context and Ontologies: Contextual Indexing of Ontological Expressions

Leo Obrst and Deborah Nichols

This paper discusses aspects of context as applied to ontologies. In particular, we note some formalizations of context that have been applied to ontologies such as Menzel (1999) and Akman and Surov (1996, 1997), that have largely been framed in terms of theories such as Situation Theory (Barwise and Perry, 1983) which originated in natural language semantics. We also mention the notion of labeled deduction (Gabbay, 1996) and speculate on its prospective use in the contextualizing of ontologies. The latter can be viewed as a mechanism for annotating ontological assertions and proofs with contextual information about provenance, security, strength/confidence of assertion, and aspects of policy. Labeled deduction correlates one or more logics, with one logic addressing the primary assertion or inference step and another logic addressing the label or annotation of that assertion or inference step.


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