PurposeWith the increasing spread of ontologies in various domains, units have gradually become an essential part of ontologies and units ontologies have been developed to offer a better expression ability for the practical usage. From the perspectives of architecture, comparison and reuse, the purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive survey on four mainstream units ontologies: quantity-unit-dimension-type, quantities, units, dimensions and values, ontology of units of measure and units ontology (UO) of the open biomedical ontologies, in order to address well the state of the art and the reuse strategies of the UO.Design/methodology/approachAn architecture of units ontologies is presented, in which the relations between key factors (i.e. units of measure, quantity and dimension) are discussed. The criteria for comparing units ontologies are developed from the perspectives of organizational structure, pattern design and application scenario. Then, the authors compare four typical units ontologies based on the proposed comparison criteria. Furthermore, how to reuse these units ontologies is discussed in materials science domain by utilizing two reuse strategies of partial reference and complete reference.FindingsUnits ontologies have attracted high attention in the scientific domain. Based on the comparison of four popular units ontologies, this paper finds that different units ontologies have different design features from the perspectives of basis structure, units conversion and axioms design; a UO is better to be applied to the application areas that satisfy its design features; and many challenges remain to be done in the future research of the UO.Originality/valueThis paper makes an extensive review on units ontologies, by defining the comparison criteria and discussing the reuse strategies in the materials domain. Based on this investigation, guidelines are summarized for the selection and reuse of units ontologies.
Program: electronic library and information systems – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 4, 2017