Design and manufacturing teams face the challenge of integration and reuse of computational information systems and knowledge. The management of information systems dealing with heterogeneous data and semantics meets the problem of interoperability between software applications, and it has been the basis to research on methodologies for the sustainability of reference ontologies. Ontologies facilitate the computational understanding, communication and seamless interoperability between people and organizations. They allow key concepts and terms relevant to a given domain to be identified and defined in an open and unambiguous way. Therefore, ontologies facilitate the use and exchange of data, information, and knowledge towards intelligent systems interoperability. Tasks on distributed and heterogeneous systems demand support from more than one ontology. Multiple ontologies need to be accessed by the same, but also different systems. The distributed nature of ontology development has led to dissimilar ontologies for the same or overlapping domains. Thus, various parties with different ontologies often do not understand each other. To solve these problems, it is suggested the use of ontology mapping geared for interoperability. This paper proposes a methodology to support the development of a sustainable common reference ontology for a group of endeavors sharing a mechanical engineering domain. This methodology enables each organization to keep its own terminology, glossary and ontological structures, providing seamless communication and interaction with the others, assessed by interoperability checking processes for an overall interoperable level of interacting systems. A use case in the mechanical engineering domain is described and the proposed methodology demonstrated.

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