Understanding and communicating spatially-oriented ontologies
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Ontologies have become increasingly important for both representation of biomedical knowledge and for using that knowledge to facilitate data integration. However, ontologies are generally not presented in ways that are easy for users to comprehend, which limits their use. In this work I address this problem within the context of two spatially-oriented ontologies: the Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) and the Ontology of Craniofacial Development and Malformation (OCDM). I describe an approach to communicating these ontologies that involves (1) identifying content patterns within an ontology, (2) creating a simplified tutorial to explain basic concepts within the ontology, (3) involving potential users in the design of an ontology browser interface, and (4) creating graphics to support the process of building and communicating the ontology. This approach should be applicable to any spatially-oriented ontology, and should result in visualizations that will enhance understanding of ontologies.