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Re: [ontology-summit] Scope of ontology: Issues:

To: "'Ontology Summit 2013 discussion'" <ontology-summit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Matthew West" <dr.matthew.west@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Dec 2012 15:05:12 -0000
Message-id: <50ddb52d.4a63b40a.36c7.5fc6@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Dear Michael,

My experience at Shell confirms your experience of between 1000-2000 concepts for an upper ontology with the scope you describe.




Matthew West                           

Information  Junction

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From: ontology-summit-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontology-summit-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Michael F Uschold
Sent: 26 December 2012 00:02
To: Ontology Summit 2013 discussion
Subject: Re: [ontology-summit] Scope of ontology: Issues:


This thread questions the extent to which the ontology requirements are related to specific or anticipated future applications, as wall as the relationship between the ontology and future applications.

We build Enterprise ontologies (EO) for our clients; an EO can be thought of as an upper ontology for a given enterprise.  All specific ontologies for any future systems will ideally be based on the Enterprise Ontology.


We have a simple TicTacToe model for talking about this, click link to see a 5 min video.  It is a dramatic simplification of the Zachman Framework with only 9 squares (hence the name).


When we build enterprise ontologies for our clients, there are between 1000-2000 concepts.  To keep it down to this number, we  scope to include all and only those concepts that are

  1. essential to the enterprise 
  2. stable (have been and will be around for decades)
  3. significantly different from other concepts 
    (i.e. exclude lots of minor variations)
  4. important independently from any specific past, present or future IT application 

The last point means that a concept is OUT OF SCOPE if it only has to do with specific applications, and is otherwise not important to the business per se.  These concepts are important to include in downstream ontologies based on the enterprise ontology, but they will change over time.


Happy Holidays To All




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