Affiliations: Faculty of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Technology Malaysia, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
Note:  Corresponding author: Robert M. Colomb, Faculty of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Technology Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia. Tel.: +61 2 4928 4504; Fax: +60 7 3365 4999; E-mail: rcolomb@ me.com.
Abstract: In this work we have developed a formal ontology for perdurants suitable for representing interlocking institutional worlds in the general area of interoperating information systems. The formal ontology is a specialization of the perdurant elements of the DOLCE and Bunge–Wand–Weber universal formal ontologies using an abstract material ontology based on the theory of speech acts embodied in a method of information systems design taken from the literature. The perdurant formal ontology is necessarily integrated with an endurant formal ontology. The one used is taken from the literature. Like the formal endurant ontology used, our formal perdurant ontology is represented as a UML profile, enabling us to re-use the vast structure of UML. The formal endurant ontology was able to re-use the UML Instances model, so did not have to make specific provision for individuals. Our formal perdurant ontology was not able to do something comparable, because UML does not have a concept of a static description of instances of perdurants. We therefore needed to develop an instances model, based on the dynamic behavior typical of database transaction management systems which must preserve the integrity of a database under conditions of catastrophic system failure. Finally, we looked at the question of how institutional worlds interlock using our formal ontology, and discovered that the process is far more complex than importing objects from one ontology into another.