Coming late to this dialog, I am wondering if it has already been suggested that the group take on the project of constructing a domain ontology of ontology to specify formally what it believes constitutes and differentiates ontologies. As a possible direction, I can imagine such an effort would help pin down, converge and organize the diverse sentiments of the group and, at the same time, encourage us to practice what we preach. For example, the group might begin such an undertaking by choosing to restrict the ontology domain to computational ontology as that breed of ontology that is expressly machine readable and intended to be used in computing systems. Such a domain restriction should serve not to exclude factors of philosophical ontology as much as specifically include factors of computability like language expressivity, language and vocabulary mapping, logic computing, data typing, algorithms for interpretation, and instance storage and serialization features. Further, the topical nature of the ontology in terms of its domain boundaries and level of focus, its mission (or characteristic queries), and its relation to other bounded domains provides a candidate third leg for this ontology of ontology device.
Possible beginnings of an ontology of ontology exist at http://www.charlestoncore.org/ont/2005/08/o3.html thanks to Xiaoshu Wang, and at http://km.aifb.uni-karlsruhe.de/ws/eon2006/eon2006gangemietal.pdf thanks to Aldo Gangemi et al, and I am sure elsewhere.
Now, the hard part, of course, will be deciding the kind of ontology an ontology of ontology should be. Whatever form it takes, however, I suspect it would represent a tangible contribution to the ontology community.
Michael Denny, Ph.D.
Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC)
100 CTC Drive
Johnstown, PA 15904
Phone: (814) 248-7518 Mobile: (814) 322-8721
Email: dennym@xxxxxxxxxx URL: www.ctc.com