Business & Information Systems Engineering

Document Type

Research Paper


An extension of process modeling languages is designed which allows representing the semantics of model element labels which are formulated in natural language by using concepts of a formal ontology. This combination of semiformal models with formal ontologies will be characterized as semantic process modeling. The approach is exemplarily applied to the languages EPC (Event-driven Process Chain), BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) and OWL (Web Ontology Language) and is generalized by means of an information model. The proposed formalization of the semantics of individual model elements in conjunction with the usage of inference engines allows the improvement of query functionalities in modeling tools and enables new possibilities of model validation. The integration of the approach in the IT-based work environments of modelers is demonstrated by a system architecture and a prototypical implementation. Evidently, advantages in the areas of modeling, model management, IT-business alignment, and compliance can be achieved by the application of modeling tools augmented with semantic technologies.