Reasoning over Ontologies with Hidden Content: The Import-by-Query Approach

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There is currently a growing interest in techniques for hiding parts of the signature of an ontology Kh that is being reused by another ontology Kv. Towards this goal, in this paper we propose the import-by-query framework, which makes the content of Kh accessible through a limited query interface. If Kv reuses the symbols from Kh in a certain restricted way, one can reason over Kv U Kh by accessing only Kv and the query interface. We map out the landscape of the import-by-query problem. In particular, we outline the limitations of our framework and prove that certain restrictions on the expressivity of Kh and the way in which Kv reuses symbols from Kh are strictly necessary to enable reasoning in our setting. We also identify cases in which reasoning is possible and we present suitable import-by-query reasoning algorithms.

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