Appel: International Workshop on "Definitions in Ontologies", ICBO'13

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Fri Mar 8 21:00:35 UTC 2013

Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 09:37:32 -0500
From: "Selja Seppälä" <selja.seppala.unige at>
Message-Id: <655F5FAE-11EB-44E8-AA07-776461BCFAA1 at>

Apologies for cross-posting
Please forward this message to any potential colleagues in the areas of


International Workshop on "Definitions in Ontologies" at ICBO 2013
(International Conference on Biomedical Ontologies)
July 7, 2013
Montreal, Canada


Ontologies built using OBO Foundry principles are advised to include
both formal (logical) definitions, as well as natural language
definitions. Depending on the effort, one or the other can be
underrepresented. Possible explanations to this bottleneck are the high
cost of producing well-written definitions; an insufficient
understanding of the nature of natural language definitions or of logic;
the lack of an operational theory of definitions; the lack of studies
that evaluate usability and effectiveness of definitions in ontologies;
a paucity of tools to help with definition authoring and
checking. Producing natural language definitions is time-consuming,
costly and prone to all kinds of inconsistencies. Producing logical
definitions that are effective, correct, and communicative is also
difficult. It is therefore worth exploring different ways of assisting,
with automation, creation and quality control of definitions.

This workshop gathers interested researchers and developers to reflect
upon general themes as the selection and modeling of defining
information; the relation between definitions in specific domains as
opposed to domain-independent definitions; the theoretical underpinnings
of definitions; tools that can facilitate relating logical and natural
language definitions. In addition, we would want to encourage
participation by different communities using definitions so that their
needs can be exposed. 


The workshop will consist of two parts. First, selected presentations of
short papers from attendees. Second, a guided discussion based on the
participants’ suggestions. This discussion is aimed at synthetizing and
prioritizing defining practices. All papers should end with a suggestion
on the defining practices or users’ needs regarding definitions.  We
will, based on the presentations and discussion, collect a list of
recommendations relating to definitions in ontologies to be posted on
the workshop’s website.


We solicit participation from developers and users from all around the
world and different linguistic communities in the areas of ontology,
natural language processing, information retrieval, logics, philosophy,
terminology and lexicology. We want to encourage participation of
ontologists and tool developers building ontology authoring tools;
philosophers and logicians who can shed light on the issues in creating
definitions; biomedical researchers interested in the role of
definitions in nomenclatures such as SNOMED; computer scientists
interested in the treatment of definitions in the framework of languages
like OWL; terminologists and lexicologists working on definitions and
their modeling; NLP researchers working on definition extraction
techniques or on information retrieval methods for definition
production; and NLP/IR researchers reusing definitions produced for


Topics of interest are split between foundational aspects, pragmatic
issues and user perspectives. Below we list some possible topics.

===== Foundational aspects =======================

   * Theories of definition and their implications for the defining

   * Realist versus conceptualist approaches in definition writing

   * Definition modeling: what kinds of information are defining

   * Domain-independent versus domain-specific definition models

   * Formal versus natural language definitions

===== Pragmatic issues ===========================

   * Quality control in definitions

   * Ways of evaluating definitions

   * Comparison and evaluation of different definition production
     techniques: handwritten, automatically generated from formal
     definitions, extracted from corpora or constructed from information
     retrieved from corpora
   * Methods and tools to automate definition production and checking

   * (Multilingual) definition generation

   * Information retrieval for definition production

   * Use of definition models to facilitate information retrieval

   * Definition extraction from corpora

   * Interactions between ontologies and lexical resources (WordNet,

   * Consequences/Strategies of giving necessary versus necessary and
     sufficient definitions, or simply sufficient definitions

   * Coordination of logical and textual definitions

   * Alternatives to and variants of definitions: elucidations,
     explanations, glosses, figures

===== User perspectives ==========================

   * Assessment of definitions used in current practice

   * Balancing needs of within discipline use and wider use of definitions

   * Use of specialized terminology versus general vocabulary

   * Presentation of definitions to different user audiences

   * Alternatives/Augmentations of textual definitions, such as figures
     and images for anatomy, where textual definitions may be harder to


Deadline for submission: April 15, 2013
Notification of acceptance: May 15, 2013 
Camera-ready copies for the proceedings: June 15, 2013
Workshop: July 7, 2013


We welcome short papers, up to 6 pages, excluding references.
All papers should end with a suggestion on the defining practices or
users’ needs regarding definitions.

Papers are to be prepared using the ICBO templates and submitted via
All papers must be
original. By submitting a paper, the authors agree to publication of
their paper in the proceedings under the CC-BY 3.0 license (open
access). The proceedings of the workshop will be published on CEUR
Workshop Proceedings (


Selja Seppälä (University at Buffalo, USA), seljamar at
Alan Ruttenberg (University at Buffalo, USA), alanruttenberg at


César Aguilar (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
Nathalie Aussenac-Gilles (National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France)
Caroline Barrière (CRIM, Canada)
Thomas Bittner (University at Buffalo, USA)
Mélanie Courtot (British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Canada)
Christiane Fellbaum (Princeton University, USA)
Natalia Grabar (Université de Lille 3, France)
Janna Hastings (European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK)
Marie-Claude L’Homme (Université de Montréal, Canada)
James Malone (European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK)
Alexis Nasr (Aix Marseille Université, France)
Fabian Neuhaus (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA) 
James Overton (Knocean, Toronto, Canada)
Richard Power (The Open University, UK)
Patrice Seyed (Tetherless World Constellation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA) 
Robert Stevens (The University of Manchester, UK)
Allan Third (The Open University, UK)
Sandra Williams (The Open University, UK)

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