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OntoDT - Ontology of Datatypes

In the context of the development of the ontology of data mining that needs to be general enough to allow the representation of mining structured data, we developed a separate ontology module, named OntoDT, for representing the knowledge about datatypes. In the preliminary OntoDT development phase, the classes used to represent datatypes were integrated in OntoDM-core. For generality and reuse purposes, however, we later exported datatype specific OntoDM classes in a separate ontology module - OntoDT. This ontology can now be reused independently by any other ontology that requires a representation of and reasoning about general purpose datatypes.


The content of the OntoDT ontology module is based on an ISO standard for the representation of datatypes in computer systems and programming languages. The first edition of the standard, named `Language independent datatypes', was published in 1996. The revised version, named `General-Purpose Datatypes', was published in 2007. The standard specifies both primitive datatypes, defined without a reference to other datatypes, and non-primitive datatypes, defined in terms of other datatypes, that occur commonly in programming languages. The definitions of datatypes are independent of any particular programming language or implementation. Furthermore, Meek (1994) discusses a proposal for a taxonomy of datatypes using as a base the first version of the ISO standard. His taxonomy follows the practice of starting with a number of primitive datatypes and using these to construct others. The proposed taxonomy is given only in the form of an overview and a discussion of how things are done, without any formal representation (in a machine processable language) that can be reused further.


The OntoDT ontology defines:

  • datatype characterizing operation and a taxonomy of datatype characterizing operations,
  • datatype quality and a taxonomy of datatype qualities
  • a datatype taxonomy comprising of classes and instances of
    • primitive datatypes
    • generated datatypes (non-aggregate and aggregated datatypes),
    • subtypes, and
    • defined datatypes.

Datatype and value space

In the OntoDT ontology, the datatype class is modeled as a subclass of the OBI: data representational model class. It defines the type of data, with the set of distinct values that the data can take, the properties of those values, and the operations on those values. The datatype class is represented with the has-member relation to the value space specification class and the has-operation relation to the characterizing operation class. In addition, OntoDT models datatype properties as subclasses of the quality class and connects them using the has-quality relation.

The value space specification class is modeled in OntoDT as a subclass of the OntoDM: specification entity class. It specifies the collection of values for a given datatype. The value space of a given datatype can be defined in different ways: by enumerating the values; with axioms using a set of fundamental notions; as a subset of values defined in another value space with a given set of properties; or as a combination of arbitrary values from some other defined value space by specifying a construction procedure.

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Release version 1


  • Panče Panov, Larisa Soldatova, Sašo Džeroski. Generic Ontology of Datatypes. Information Sciences, 2015 (accepted for publication)
  • Panče Panov. A Modular Ontology of Data Mining. Doctoral Thesis. Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School. 2012 (Chapter 5 OntoDT: Ontology Module for Datatypes)


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