Ontolog Forum

Ontology Summit 2007 - Ontology, Taxonomy, Folksonomy: Understanding the Distinctions

What's New


Building upon the successful model of last year's UpperOntologySummit, co-sponsors from NIST, Ontolog, NCOR, NCBO, NLM/NIH, W3C, Tag Commons, Stanford-KSL and others (see: list of co-sponsors) are initiating a second summit during the spring of 2007.

We are hoping to convene key players in both research and applications who profess in developing or facilitating the evolution of "ontologies" and structures that help model semantics, to join us in our Ontology Summit 2007 activity to help everyone understand the distinctions between Ontology, Taxonomy, Folksonomy and all the terms in between that various communities employ to label those "ontologies" or "structures."

The challenge, this year, put before the various constituencies and communities involved, is to clarify what everyone means when they use the term "ontology" or when they refer to these semantic structures. Our objective is to define and agree to a systematic means of categorizing the many kinds of things that fall broadly within the "ontology" spectrum. By doing so, the research, development and Internet communities would have a better way of comparing, combining and mapping ontologies to one another (apples to apples). The range of what people call "ontologies" covers folksonomies, taxonomies, thesauri, conceptual models, and formal logic-based models to name just a few flavors.

The Ontolog Forum plans to initiate a vigorous three-month online discourse on the subject matter, and hopefully come up with promising strawman structures to characterize all of these possibilities, and more. This online discourse will culminate in a two-day face-to-face workshop and symposium during NIST's Interoperability Week 2007 on 23 & 24-April-2007.

Similar to last year's summit, our intent is that the conveners of "Ontology Summit 2007" will release a written communiqué to the international press, laying out the final categorization structure and locating some key ontological artifacts within it as one of the deliverables from this initiative.

The Team

  • Conveners:
    • these are key participants who provided substantive contribution to the Ontology Summit 2007 initiative through:
      • the online discourse,
      • the survey and subsequent synthesis work,
      • authoring/presentation of various relevant positions and perspectives (for this Summit),
      • preparing the drafts of the "Framework" and "Communiqué" (which were then collaboratively reviewed and adopted during the face-to-face meetings),
    • participants at the face-to-face meetings (either on-site or remotely), and
    • all members of the organizing committee
    • to these conveners, who made this initiative a reality, we express our deepest appreciation and gratitude.

You are cordially invited to join us!

(This section is left here for archival purposes only, as the Summit has already successfully concluded)

  • Like all activities Ontolog has been hosting, this is open to everyone.
    • Do join us if you concur with the objective of this endeavor and would like to participate in, or follow the progress of the discourse
  • specific individuals who may be interested include (but not limit to):
    • upper ontology researchers and developers
    • domain ontology researchers and developers
    • ontology-based application developers and implementors
    • active players in the ontology community
    • potential user organizations
    • potential funders of ontology and ontological engineering work
    • representatives from International Standards Bodies
    • thought leaders and active contributors of the web 2.0 community
    • leaders of the semantic web community
    • people in academia, research, industry and the web working on sharing knowledge, semantic interoperability, knowledge representation, artificial intelligence ... who are engaged in the research, development, engineering and implementation of these subject matters
  • We cordially invite you to join us in the "Ontology Summit 2007" virtual discourse (as one of the coveners of this initiative),
    • If you are already an Ontolog Member:
      • to participate in the "Ontology Summit 2007" virtual discourse, please subscribe to the [ontology-summit] forum (the convener's mailing list), by sending an empty (no message body is needed) message to: ontology-summit-join [at]
      • to browse the forum archives, see:
      • if you run into any problem, please send your subscription request directly to <>
    • If you are not already an Ontolog Member:
      • please take a look at the details in our "Membership" section and (if you like what you see) join us.
    • then subscribe yourself to the [ontology-summit] forum (the convener's mailing list) as described above.
      • (alternatively) if you run into any problem, please send your request directly to <>

Discussion Archives & Shared-File Workspace

  • Discussion Archives:
    • [ontology-summit] - Ontology Summit 2007 Convener's discussion Archives - (open)
      • to participate in the virtual discourse, please subscribe to this [ontology-summit] forum (the convener's mailing list), by sending an empty (no message body is needed) message to: ontology-summit-join [at]
    • [ontology-summit-org] - Organizing Committee List Archives - (password protected)

Follow-up Plans and Actions (Tasks) - see: OntologySummit2007_FollowUp

  • Michael Grüninger will lead the authorship of a paper, reporting on the Proceedings, the Communiqué, and other aspects of the Summit, that will be submitted to the "Applied Ontology" journal for publication.
  • Tom Gruber initialized a community effort to distinguishing properties of ontologies as we know them in his post and the creation of the OntologyDistinctions page on this wiki
    • Tom will champion the consolidation of our community's contributions, and will push that to wikipedia, so it may reach a even broader audience.
  • Ken Baclawski will head up an effort to 'populate' the 'framework' with artifacts contributed by the various constituencies during the survey. He will be soliciting and coordinating additional contribution from the community - in terms of providing and populating the framework with exemplary artifacts, and in validating the measures and evaluation of the population exercises.
  • Strong suggestions that there is a need for ongoing research and development work to further refine the 'framework' and its associated metric, to culminate in an academic/research paper (originally brought up by OlivierBodenreider).
  • ref: discussion at the community member ConferenceCall_2007_06_07

Conference Call, Meeting & Workshop

Ontology Summit 2007 face-to-face Sessions

Open / Convener Sessions

Organizing Committee Sessions

Additional Resources

Ontology Summit 2007 in the News, Blogosphere & Literature