An ontological investigation over human relations in linked data

Applied Ontology 11 (3):227-254 (2016)
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The research presented in this article is motivated by the increasing importance of complex human relations in linked data, either extracted from social networks, or found in existing databases. The FOAF vocabulary, targeted in our research, plays a central role in those data, and is a model for lightweight ontologies largely used in linked data, such as the DBpedia ontology and schema-org. We provide an overview of FOAF and other approaches for describing human relations, followed by a detailed analysis and critique of the FOAF Relationship Vocabulary, the most important FOAF extension. We propose an explicit formal axiomatization of this vocabulary, and an ontological analysis concerning the properties used to describe human relationships. We analyze the distribution of human relations based on their epistemological status, and define an ontoepistemic meta-property as characteristic of some of these predicates. Our analysis is generalizable to semantic modeling of social networks. Additionally, the modeling patterns used in other relevant linked data vocabularies are analyzed for comparison.
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