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The terms ABox and TBox are used to describe two different types of statements in ontologies. TBox statements describe a system in terms of controlled vocabularies, for example, a set of classes and properties. ABox are TBox-compliant statements about that vocabulary.
TBox statements are sometimes associated with object-oriented classes and ABox statements associated with instances of those classes.
Together ABox and TBox statements make up a knowledge base.
Examples of ABox and TBox statements
ABox statements typically have the form:
A is an instance of B
John is a Person
This should be contrasted with TBox statements (or statements about terminology) such as:
All Students are Persons
There are two types of Persons: Students and Teachers
TBox statements tend to be more permanent within a knowledge base and tend to be stored in a data model or a metadata registry. In contrast, ABox statements are much more dynamic in nature and tend to be stored as instance data within transactional systems within databases.
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