BFO: Basic Formal Ontology

Applied ontology 17 (1):17-43 (2022)
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Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) is a top-level ontology consisting of thirty-six classes, designed to support information integration, retrieval, and analysis across all domains of scientific investigation, presently employed in over 350 ontology projects around the world. BFO is a genuine top-level ontology, containing no terms particular to material domains, such as physics, medicine, or psychology. In this paper, we demonstrate how a series of cases illustrating common types of change may be represented by universals, defined classes, and relations employing the BFO framework. We provide discussion of these cases to provide a template for other ontologists using BFO, as well as to facilitate comparison with the strategies proposed by ontologists using different top-level ontologies.



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Author Profiles

J. Neil Otte
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Alan Ruttenberg
University at Buffalo
John Beverley
University at Buffalo