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The Ontology-Epistemology Divide: A Case Study in Medical Terminology

In Achille Varzi & Laure Vieu (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems. Proceedings of the Third International Conference (FOIS 2004). IOS Press (2004)

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  1. Investigating Subsumption in SNOMED CT: An Exploration Into Large Description Logic-Based Biomedical Terminologies.Olivier Bodenreider, Barry Smith, Anand Kumar & Anita Burgun - 2007 - Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 39 (3):183-195.
    Formalisms based on one or other flavor of Description Logic (DL) are sometimes put forward as helping to ensure that terminologies and controlled vocabularies comply with sound ontological principles. The objective of this paper is to study the degree to which one DL-based biomedical terminology (SNOMED CT) does indeed comply with such principles. We defined seven ontological principles (for example: each class must have at least one parent, each class must differ from its parent) and examined the properties of SNOMED (...)
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  • Concept Systems and Ontologies: Recommendations for Basic Terminology.Gunnar O. Klein & Barry Smith - 2010 - Transactions of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence 25 (3):433-441.
    This is the third draft of a paper that aims to clarify the apparent contradictions in the views presented in certain standards and other specifications of health informatics systems, contradictions which come to light when the latter are evaluated from the perspective of realist philosophy. One of the origins of this document was Klein’s discussion paper of 2005-07-02 entitled “Conceptology vs Reality” and the responses from Smith, as well as the several hours of discussions during the 2005 MIE meeting in (...)
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  • Applied Ontology: An Introduction.Katherine Munn & Barry Smith (eds.) - 2008 - Frankfurt: ontos.
    Ontology is the philosophical discipline which aims to understand how things in the world are divided into categories and how these categories are related together. This is exactly what information scientists aim for in creating structured, automated representations, called 'ontologies,' for managing information in fields such as science, government, industry, and healthcare. Currently, these systems are designed in a variety of different ways, so they cannot share data with one another. They are often idiosyncratically structured, accessible only to those who (...)
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  • Ontology as the Core Discipline of Biomedical Informatics: Legacies of the Past and Recommendations for the Future Direction of Research.Barry Smith & Werner Ceusters - 2007 - In Gordana Dodig Crnkovic & Susan Stuart (eds.), Computation, Information, Cognition: The Nexus and the Liminal. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 104-122.
    The automatic integration of rapidly expanding information resources in the life sciences is one of the most challenging goals facing biomedical research today. Controlled vocabularies, terminologies, and coding systems play an important role in realizing this goal, by making it possible to draw together information from heterogeneous sources – for example pertaining to genes and proteins, drugs and diseases – secure in the knowledge that the same terms will also represent the same entities on all occasions of use. In the (...)
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  • Negative Findings in Electronic Health Records and Biomedical Ontologies: A Realist Approach.Werner Ceusters, Peter Elkin & Barry Smith - 2007 - International Journal of Medical Informatics 76 (3):S326-S333.
    PURPOSE—A substantial fraction of the observations made by clinicians and entered into patient records are expressed by means of negation or by using terms which contain negative qualifiers (as in “absence of pulse” or “surgical procedure not performed”). This seems at first sight to present problems for ontologies, terminologies and data repositories that adhere to a realist view and thus reject any reference to putative non-existing entities. Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and Referent Tracking (RT) are examples of such paradigms. The (...)
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  • Six Questions on the Construction of Ontologies in Biomedicine.Anand Kumar, A. Burgun, W. Ceusters, J. Cimino, J. Davis, P. Elkin, I. Kalet, A. Rector, J. Rice, J. Rogers, Barry Smith & Others - 2005 - Report of the AMIA Working Group on Formal Biomedical Knowledge Representation 1.
    (Report assembled for the Workshop of the AMIA Working Group on Formal Biomedical Knowledge Representation in connection with AMIA Symposium, Washington DC, 2005.) Best practices in ontology building for biomedicine have been frequently discussed in recent years. However there is a range of seemingly disparate views represented by experts in the field. These views not only reflect the different uses to which ontologies are put, but also the experiences and disciplinary background of these experts themselves. We asked six questions related (...)
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  • Would SNOMED CT Benefit From Realism-Based Ontology Evolution?Werner Ceusters, Kent Spackman & Barry Smith - 2007 - AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings 2007:105-109.
    If SNOMED CT is to serve as a biomedical reference terminology, then steps must be taken to ensure comparability of information formulated using successive versions. New releases are therefore shipped with a history mechanism. We assessed the adequacy of this mechanism for its treatment of the distinction between changes occurring on the side of entities in reality and changes in our understanding thereof. We found that these two types are only partially distinguished and that a more detailed study is required (...)
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  • Biomedizinische Ontologien für die Praxis.M. Brochhausen & Barry Smith - 2009 - European Journal for Biomedical Informatics 1.
    Hintergrund: Biomedizinische Ontologien existieren unter anderem zur Integration von klinischen und experimentellen Daten. Um dies zu erreichen ist es erforderlich, dass die fraglichen Ontologien von einer großen Zahl von Benutzern zur Annotation von Daten verwendet werden. Wie können Ontologien das erforderliche Maß an Benutzerfreundlichkeit, Zuverlässigkeit, Kosteneffektivität und Domänenabdeckung erreichen, um weitreichende Akzeptanz herbeizuführen? -/- Material und Methoden: Wir konzentrieren uns auf zwei unterschiedliche Strategien, die zurzeit hierbei verfolgt werden. Eine davon wird von SNOMED CT im Bereich der Medizin vertreten, die (...)
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  • Continua in Biological Systems.Ingvar Johansson - 2007 - The Monist 90 (4):499-522.
    We defend the fundamental ontological-pragmatic principle that where there are continua in reality science is often forced to make partly fiat terminological delimitations. In particular, this principle applies when it comes to describing biological organisms, their parts, properties, and relations. Human-made fiat delimitations are indispensable at the level of both individuals and the natural kinds which they instantiate. The kinds of pragmatically based ‘fiatness’ that we describe can create incompatibilities and lack of interoperability even between properly designed ontologies, if not (...)
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  • The Development of a Schema for Semantic Annotation: Gain Brought by a Formal Ontological Method.Ai Kawazoe, Lihua Jin, Mika Shigematsu, Daisuke Bekki, Roberto Barrero, Kiyosu Taniguchi & Nigel Collier - 2009 - Applied Ontology 4 (1):5-20.
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  • From Concepts to Clinical Reality: An Essay on the Benchmarking of Biomedical Terminologies.Barry Smith - 2006 - Journal of Biomedical Informatics 39 (3):288-298.
    It is only by fixing on agreed meanings of terms in biomedical terminologies that we will be in a position to achieve that accumulation and integration of knowledge that is indispensable to progress at the frontiers of biomedicine. Standardly, the goal of fixing meanings is seen as being realized through the alignment of terms on what are called ‘concepts’. Part I addresses three versions of the concept-based approach – by Cimino, by Wüster, and by Campbell and associates – and surveys (...)
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  • Introduction: What is Ontology For.Katherine Munn - 2008 - In Munn Katherine & Smith Barry (eds.), Applied Ontology: An Introduction. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 7-19.
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  • On Defining Bruxism.W. Ceusters & B. Smith - 2018 - Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 247:551-555.
    In a series of recent publications, orofacial researchers have debated the question of how ‘bruxism’ should be defined for the purposes of accurate diagnosis and reliable clinical research. Following the principles of realism-based ontology, we performed an analysis of the arguments involved. This revealed that the disagreements rested primarily on inconsistent use of terms, so that issues of ontology were thus obfuscated by shortfalls in terminology. In this paper, we demonstrate how bruxism terminology can be improved by paying attention to (...)
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