Discovering the semantics of relational tables through mappings

Yuan An, Alex Borgida, John Mylopoulos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

31 Scopus citations


Many problems in Information and Data Management require a semantic account of a database schema. At its best, such an account consists of formulas expressing the relationship ("mapping") between the schema and a formal conceptual model or ontology (CM) of the domain. In this paper we describe the underlying principles, algorithms, and a prototype tool that finds such semantic mappings from relational tables to ontologies, when given as input simple correspondences from columns of the tables to datatype properties of classes in an ontology. Although the algorithm presented is necessarily heuristic, we offer formal results showing that the answers returned by the tool are "correct" for relational schemas designed according to standard Entity-Relationship techniques. To evaluate its usefulness and effectiveness, we have applied the tool to a number of public domain schemas and ontologies. Our experience shows that significant effort is saved when using it to build semantic mappings from relational tables to ontologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJournal on Data Semantics VII
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages32
ISBN (Print)3540463291, 9783540463290
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume4244 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


  • Mappings
  • Ontologies
  • Semantic interoperability
  • Semantics


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