Measuring and Avoiding Information Loss During Concept Import from a Source to a Target Ontology

James Geller, Shmuel Klein, Vipina Keloth

Abstract

Comparing pairs of ontologies in the same biomedical content domain often uncovers surprising differences. In many cases these differences can be characterized as “density differences,” where one ontology describes the content domain with more concepts in a more detailed manner. Using the Unified Medical Language System across pairs of ontologies contained in it, these differences can be precisely observed and used as the basis for importing concepts from the ontology of higher density into the ontology of lower density. However, such an import can lead to an intuitive loss of information that is hard to formalize. This paper proposes an approach based on information theory that mathematically distinguishes between different methods of concept import and measures the associated avoidance of information loss.

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