Comparison of BIBO and FaBiO

BIBO v1.3, the Bibliographic Ontology developed by Bruce D’Arcus and Frédérick Giasson [1], was the first OWL ontology dedicated to describing bibliographic entities, and has attracted a wide group of users. It provided the much-needed ability to describe the nature of cited works in RDF to a high degree of granularity, in terms of Title, Abstract, Journal, Volume, Pages, ISSN, DOI, dataCopyrighted, editor, etc.

FaBiO, the FRBR-aligned Bibliographic Ontology, which was created more recently and was introduced in a previous blog post [2], bears many similarities with BIBO, including its overall scope and intention, and the inclusion of PRISM and DC Terms data properties. A clear comparison of these two ontologies, and the provision of a mapping between them, is long overdue.

The primary differences between FaBiO and BIBO are as follows:

  1. While BIBO is a ‘flat’ ontology, FaBiO is structured according to the FRBR conceptual model, in which publication entities are described from four different and correlated points of view, those of Work, Expression, Manifestation and Item, each of which is a FRBR Endeavour, as defined in a previous blog post. This structure has been introduced to provide greater expressivity. For example, using FaBiO one can describe a fabio:ResearchPaper that can be published as a fabio:JournalArticle, or alternatively as a fabio:ConferencePaper or a fabio:BookChapter. BIBO has the class bibo:AcademicArticle, which conflated the two concepts ResearchPaper (a conceptual Work) and JournalArticle (an Expression of that Work).
  2. Great care has been taken to make the textual definitions of FaBiO classes accurate and expressive. Thus, while BIBO’s definition of bibo:Standard is “A document describing a standard”, FaBiO describes fabio:TechnicalStandard, which is a subclass of fabio:Specification, as “An official or public specification of, or requirement for, a technical method, practice, process or protocol that is involved in, for example, manufacturing, computation, electronic communication, or digital media.”
  3. FaBiO is larger than BIBO (211 rather than 69 classes, 69 rather than 52 object properties, 45 rather than 54 data properties, and 16 rather than 15 individuals), permitting greater expressivity.
  4. BIBO has a slight subject specialism in the area of legal documents (including bibo:Bill, bibo:Brief, bibo:CourtReporter, bibo:LegalCaseDocument, bibo:Statue). In addition to covering conventional scholarly works, BIBO also covers a few things outside the immediate realm of bibliographic entities, including social events (e.g. bibo:Hearing, bibo:Interview, bibo:Performance) and personal roles (e.g. bibo:interviewer, bibo:performer, bibo:producer). In contrast, FaBiO was developed to describe anything a research scientist might need to reference. Thus it lacks legal classes but includes classes that betray a preoccupation with academia and publications (e.g. fabio:ExaminationPaper, fabio:Preprint, fabio:SupplementaryInformationFile), funding and IPR (e.g. fabio:GrantApplication, fabio:PatentApplication), biomedical research (e.g. fabio:ClinicalTrialDesign, fabio:SystematicReview), research data (e.g. fabio:Dataset, fabio:Metadata, fabio:DataBase, fabio:DataRepository), computing (e.g. fabio:Algorithm, fabio:ComputerProgram), web communication (e.g. fabio:BlogPost, fabio:WikiEntry) and ontologies (e.g. fabio:ControlledVocabulary, fabio:Ontology, fabio:Thesaurus, fabio:Taxonomy), none of which are present in BIBO.
  5. FaBiO is not a stand-alone ontology, but is one of the SPAR (Semantic Publishing and Referencing) Ontologies, a suite of complementary and orthogonal ontologies outlined in two previous blog posts [2, 3], that cover all aspects of publishing, referencing and bibliographic endeavour.
  6. FaBiO and the other SPAR ontologies are written in OWL 2 DL, enabling them to be used in the Semantic Web with appropriate reasoners. In contrast, BIBO is in OWL Full, since it includes the RDF resources rdf:List, rdf:Seq and rdfs:Resource and the property rdf:value that cannot be included in proper OWL2 DL ontologies.
  7. BIBO contains a few elements that are not present within FaBiO, but that have equivalent elements within some of the other SPAR ontologies:
    1. the object properties bibo:cites and bibo:isCitedBy have equivalent properties in CiTO, the Citation Typing Ontology, where they have 32 sub-properties lacking in BIBO;
    2. classes to describe component parts of documents (e.g. bibo:DocumentPart) that are covered in DoCO, the Document Components Ontology;
    3. classes and properties to describe the status of documents (e.g. bibo:DocumentStatus, bibo:status), that are covered in PSO, the Publication Status Ontology.
  8. FaBiO and CiTO have been harmonized [4] with the SWAN (Semantic Web Applications in Neuromedicine) ontology ecosystem developed by Tim Clark and Paolo Ciccarese of Harvard University, which covers the domain of scientific discourse in general, with particular application to neuromedicine, and which is used particularly useful for characterizing rhetorical structures between documents. Since SWAN had been previously harmonized with the SIOC (Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities) ontology for describing blogs, wikis and discussion groups, this provides the basis of a powerful new web framework for scientific communications.
  9. For categorising bibliographic resources, FaBiO has been integrated with and extends SKOS, the Simple Knowledge Organization System [5] that supports the use of thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies and other knowledge organization systems within the framework of the Semantic Web, as described in a previous blog post.

The choice of whether to use BIBO or FaBiO depends upon whether BIBO possesses sufficient expressiveness for the task in hand, whether the user is prepared to put in the small degree of extra effort required to engage with the layered FRBR structure of FaBiO rather than the flat structure of BIBO, whether one requires the semantic reasoning support of an OWL 2 DL ontology, and whether the user requires integration with other ontologies such as CiTO and SWAN, that FaBiO provides.

To assist existing users of BIBO and the SPAR Ontologies to map between these two systems, we have used SKOS to prepare an RDF mapping document, BIBO2SPAR, that we describe in the following blog post.

[1] Bruce D’Arcus and Frédérick Giasson (2009). Bibliographic Ontology Specification. Specification Document, 4 November 2009. http://bibliontology.com/specification.

[2] David Shotton (2010) Introducing the Semantic Publishing and Referencing (SPAR) Ontologies. JISC Open Citations Blog, 14 October 2010. https://opencitations.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/introducing-the-semantic-publishing-and-referencing-spar-ontologies/.

[3] David Shotton (2011) New web site for the SPAR ontologies. JISC Open Citations Blog, 25 February 2011. https://opencitations.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/new-web-site-for-the-spar-ontologies/.

[4] Ciccarese P, Shotton D, Peroni S and Clark T (2011) CiTO + SWAN: The Web Semantics of Bibliographic Records, Citations, Evidence and Discourse Relationships. (Submitted for publication).

[5] Miles, A., Bechhofer, S. (2009). SKOS Simple Knowledge Organization System Reference. W3C Recommendation, 18 August 2009. World Wide Web Consortium. http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/REC-skos-reference-20090818/.

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5 Responses to Comparison of BIBO and FaBiO

  1. Pingback: BIBO2SPAR, an RDF Mapping of BIBO to the SPAR Ontologies | JISC Open Citations

  2. Pingback: JISC Open Citations Project – Final Project Blog Post | JISC Open Citations

  3. Pingback: BIBO2SPAR, an RDF Mapping of BIBO to the SPAR Ontologies | Semantic Publishing

  4. Pingback: Libraries and linked data #5: Using the SPAR ontologies to publish bibliographic records | Semantic Publishing

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