ONSET: the foundational ONtology Selection and Explanation Tool

ONSET, the foundational ontology selection and explanation tool, assists the domain ontology developer in selecting the most appropriate foundational ontology. The domain ontology developer provides the requirements/answers one or more questions, and ONSET computes the selection of the appropriate foundational ontology and explains why.
The current version (v1.2 of 20-3-2012) includes DOLCE, BFO, GFO, and SUMO.

A paper describing the details has been accepted at EKAW'12:

Khan, Z., Keet, C.M. ONSET: Automated Foundational Ontology Selection and Explanation. 18th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management (EKAW'12). Oct 8-12, Galway, Ireland. Springer, LNAI, 15p. (in press)

Links to foundational ontologies

The foundational ontologies that can be selected in the current version each come in different formats/formalisations. This list contains the links to the files as provided by the BFO, DOLCE, GFO, and SUMO developers.
  • BFO: Basic Formal Ontology (homepage):
    • The OWL version
    • A version in first order logic in Isabelle syntax (for the isabelle theorem prover tool)
    • The OBO version
  • DOLCE: Descriptive Ontology for Linguistic and Cognitive Engineering (homepage):
    • The paper-based formalisation in first order logic in WonderWeb Deliverable D18
    • An OWL-ized version of the paper-based DOLCE, called DOLCE-lite is included as a separate file in the DLP 3971 (zip file)
    • The extended DOLCE Lite Plus (DOLCE-lite with, among others descriptions and plans, spatial relations, and more) can also be loaded as an online OWL file
  • GFO: General Formal Ontology (homepage):
    • GFO full in OWL, which is an extensive version of GFO
    • GFO basic in OWL, which is a smaller core of the GFO full
  • SUMO: Suggested Upper Merged Ontology (homepage)


The first version of the ONSET application was developed by Zubeida Khan as partial fullfilment of her BSc(honours) thesis in Computer Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, supervised by Maria Keet. Extensions were also designed and implemented by Khan, who is currently a MSc student at UKZN.

The values for the parameters have been verified by the BFO, DOLCE, and GFO developers, and we wish to thank Pierre Grenon, Stefano Borgo, Claudio Masolo, Frank Loebe and Heinrich Herre for their input and feedback.