Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Rajshekhar Sunderraman

Second Advisor

Anu Bourgeois

Third Advisor

Yanqing Zhang

Fourth Advisor

Yichuan Zhao


As an expressive knowledge representation language for Semantic Web, Web Ontology Language (OWL) plays an important role in areas like science and commerce. The problem of maintaining integrity constraints arises because OWL employs the Open World Assumption (OWA) as well as the Non-Unique Name Assumption (NUNA). These assumptions are typically suitable for representing knowledge distributed across the Web, where the complete knowledge about a domain cannot be assumed, but make it challenging to use OWL itself for closed world integrity constraint validation. Integrity constraints (ICs) on ontologies have to be enforced; otherwise conflicting results would be derivable from the same knowledge base (KB). The current trends of incorporating ICs into OWL are based on its query language SPARQL, alternative semantics, or logic programming. These methods usually suffer from limited types of constraints they can handle, and/or inherited computational expensiveness.

This dissertation presents a comprehensive and efficient approach to maintaining integrity constraints. The design enforces data consistency throughout the OWL life cycle, including the processes of OWL generation, maintenance, and interactions with other ontologies. For OWL generation, the Paraconsistent model is used to maintain integrity constraints during the relational database to OWL translation process. Then a new rule-based language with set extension is introduced as a platform to allow users to specify constraints, along with a demonstration of 18 commonly used constraints written in this language. In addition, a new constraint maintenance system, called Jena2Drools, is proposed and implemented, to show its effectiveness and efficiency. To further handle inconsistencies among multiple distributed ontologies, this work constructs a framework to break down global constraints into several sub-constraints for efficient parallel validation.