Applications of ontology design patterns in biomedical ontologies

AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2012:2012:643-52. Epub 2012 Nov 3.


Ontology design patterns (ODPs) are a proposed solution to facilitate ontology development, and to help users avoid some of the most frequent modeling mistakes. ODPs originate from similar approaches in software engineering, where software design patterns have become a critical aspect of software development. There is little empirical evidence for ODP prevalence or effectiveness thus far. In this work, we determine the use and applicability of ODPs in a case study of biomedical ontologies. We encoded ontology design patterns from two ODP catalogs. We then searched for these patterns in a set of eight ontologies. We found five patterns of the 69 patterns. Two of the eight ontologies contained these patterns. While ontology design patterns provide a vehicle for capturing formally reoccurring models and best practices in ontology design, we show that today their use in a case study of widely used biomedical ontologies is limited.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Medical Informatics
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Software*
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Vocabulary, Controlled*