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Use Case 7 - FEA-RMO OWL

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Use Case: U.S. Federal Information Sharing with Shared Concepts Using the Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Model Ontology (FEA-RMO) in OWL-DL




Rick Murphy

Problem Definition

Despite decades of investment in information sharing, both public and private sector organizations lack sufficient understanding of the semantics, semiotics and pragmatics required to enhance their current capability to share information. Today, U.S. Federal agencies share a common vocabulary in the Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Models. These reference models present five perspectives on the functional decomposition of the Federal government across organizational boundaries, yet the terms within and across each reference model appear unrelated to the naive observer. An approach to relating the terms to the concepts they share both within and among the reference models advances current capabilities in information sharing.

Target population

Federal agencies using the Federal Enterprise Architecture, their agents, citizens and all interested in advancing their capabilities in information sharing.


Today, information sharing implies the formal specification of information in machine readable representations with adequate syntax and enough semantics to be understood by humans and machines. RDF and OWL are W3C recommendations that allow government officials, their agents and citizens to represent information in machine readable syntax as URIs. RDF model theory defines the formal semantics of RDF and OWL and LBase defines the formal semantics for all semantic web languages. Federal agencies share a common vocabulary in the Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Models that can be used in information sharing as the Federal Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Model Ontology, also known as FEA-RMO. Using URIs from FEA-RMO as Linked Data enhances information sharing. Despite the advancements in information sharing using RDF/OWL and linked data, the reference models appear unrelated to the naive observer. Relating the reference models implies more than RDF model theory. It implies relating terms both within and across the reference models to the underlying concepts they represent. We call this approach shared concept and recognize the essential nature of semiotics and pragmatics to information sharing in a 21st century government. We demonstrate how the Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Business Enterprise Architecture are related through the shared concept approach in Peirce's Semiotics in the Alignment of Formal Specifications using Shared Concept.

Target software

Federal Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Model Ontology, FEA-OSD Ontology, Peirce's On a New List of Categories Ontology, Swoop and Pellet

Identified problems or limitations

Today's semantics are grounded in a model theory based in Alfred Tarski's Semantic Conception of Truth. This vision of information sharing identified here implies extending today's model theory to include semiotics and pragmatics. See Willard Van Ormon Quine's Two Dogmas of Empiricism.

Related initiatives

Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Models, Linked Data, Getting Into RDF & the Semantic Web Using N3