Affiliations: IIIA – Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, CSIC, Catalonia, Spain | School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK
Note:  Corresponding author: Marco Schorlemmer, IIIA – Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, CSIC, Catalonia, Spain. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: We address what is still a scarcity of general mathematical foundations for ontology-based semantic integration underlying current knowledge engineering methodologies in decentralised and distributed environments. After recalling the first-order ontology-based approach to semantic integration and a formalisation of ontological commitment, we propose a general theory that uses a syntax- and interpretation-independent formulation of language, ontology, and ontological commitment in terms of institutions. We claim that our formalisation generalises the intuitive notion of ontology-based semantic integration while retaining its basic insight, and we apply it for eliciting and hence comparing various increasingly complex notions of semantic integration and ontological commitment based on differing understandings of semantics.