K-CAP 2023
Conference paper

NLFOA: Natural Language Focused Ontology Alignment

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For Ontology Alignment (OA), the task is to align semantically equivalent concepts and relations from different ontologies. This task plays a crucial role in many downstream tasks and applications in academia and industry. Since manually aligning ontologies is inefficient and costly, numerous approaches exist to do this automatically. However, most approaches are tailored to specific domains, are rule-based systems or based on feature engineering, and require external knowledge. The most recent advances in the field of OA rely on the widely proven effectiveness of pre-trained language models to represent the human-generated language that describes the entities in an ontology. However, these approaches additionally require sophisticated algorithms or Graph Neural Networks to exploit an ontology’s graphical structure to achieve state-of-the-art performance. In this work, we present NLFOA, or Natural Language Focused Ontology Alignment, which purely focuses on the natural language contained in ontologies to process the ontology’s semantics as well as graphical structure. An evaluation of our approach on common OA datasets shows superior results when finetuning with only a small number of training samples. Additionally, it demonstrates strong results in a zero-shot setting which could be employed in an active learning setup to reduce human labor when manually aligning ontologies significantly.