Ontolog Forum

Ontology Summit 2007: A Collection of Definitions - What do people mean when they use the term "Ontology"

  • "What is an Ontology?" - "An ontology is a specification of a conceptualization....the objects, concepts, and other entities that are assumed to exist in some area of interest and the relationships that hold among them." ... "in the context of AI, we can describe the ontology of a program by defining a set of representational terms." ... (from "A Translation Approach to Portable Ontology Specifications" Tom Gruber / 1993) [posted by Peter P. Yim / 2007.01.18]

For Discussion: see - OntologySummit2007_FrameworksForConsideration

Other community inputs:

Our theme for Ontology Summit 2007 is: "Ontology, Taxonomy, Folksonomy: Understanding the Distinctions"


As Steve Ray said it during our 18-Jan-2007 Ontology Summit launch meeting, rather than to "bludgeon the world into using a single definition", we want to "provide a means of identifying what kind of "ontology" you are talking about.

At our organizing committee conference call, when the above "tag line" was adopted, Olivier Bodenreider drew a rather appropriate analogy by saying, "we want to be USGS, and not the UN." ... Yes, conveners of Ontology Summit 2007 should look at themselves as cartographers, not peace keepers!

We don't plan to go around telling people how they should use the term "ontology". Instead, we are planning to solicit input from people who could represent perspectives of different constituencies that are involved in developing or facilitating the evolution of "ontologies" and structures that help model semantics. We want these people (experts, practitioners and informed layman alike) to provide input from the perspectives of their constituencies.

We have, below, an incomplete list of the "constituencies" that may be pertinent. Please feel free to make the addition to the list if you notice that a certain community (or sub-community) is conspicuously missing.

Various Communities ("constituencies") and the way they define their "ontology" or ontology-related vocabulary

List of communities first enumerated at our 2007.01.30 organizing committee meeting

... (we'll be soliciting input on key ontology-related vocabulary, glossary and artifacts from the perspective of the various constituencies in a survey.)

Formal ontology communities

  • upper ontology community
  • domain ontology community
  • AI R&D communities
  • Logic Model vs. Probabilistic Model

Semantic Web communities

  • RDF community
  • OWL-DL (discription logic) community
  • OWL full community
  • Semantic Web Rules community

Linguistic communities

Concept Map community

Topic Map & Subject Map communities

SEARCH communities

  • statistical search community
  • semantic search community
  • UIMA community

Web 2.0 communities

  • web-based semantic network communities
  • folksonomy / social networking / social bookmarking community
  • FOAF community
  • wiki & semantic-wiki community

Thesauri community

Taxonomy communities

  • Classification system communities
  • Indexing system communities

Metadata communities

  • Dublin Core community
  • SKOS community
  • Librarians community
  • Knowledge Management (KM) communities
  • ISO-11179 community

XML communities

  • OASIS community
  • Microformats / GRDDL community

Applications Development, Software Engineering and Information Model communities

  • software engineering / developers / programmers community
  • database community
  • UML community
  • legacy system re-engineering communities

System Architecture Communities

  • System architecture community
  • enterprise architecture community
  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) community

Biomedical communities

  • bioinformatics community
  • medical informatics community

Standards Development communities

Community Input: see - OntologySummit2007_Survey/Response