Amanda Vizedom    (13SL)

Amanda Vizedom, PhD
e-mail: {nid 13SM}

Founding Partner, Criticollab, LLC.    (47SU)

I'm a consulting ontologist. I've been a full-time, professional applied ontologist since 1998. In my current practice I work both long-term projects and shorter-term, task-based contracts. I do ontology development and design, team and project methodology, training, and associated tasks. I also offer assistance to organizations wanting to adopt semantic technologies but not sure exactly what they need or how to proceed; in this role, my focus is on helping folks identify their requirements and how best to proceed in order to meet them. I'm also strongly interested in research into ontology evaluation, quality assurance, and best practices, including design patterns. I'm particularly interested in better understanding of the problem features that affect applicability of particular practices, and of the nature of such dependencies.    (2SFJ)

Before going independent, I was most recently Principal Ontologist at Wind River Consulting. From Feb 2008 - Feb 2011, I worked on the USAF Enterprise Vocabulary Team (EVT). The EVT supports Community of Interest (CoI) - based ontology development, as part of an enterprise-wide transparency initiative. The focal application context is semantically-enabled SOA for cross-community information sharing. The requirements on the infrastructure, services, ontologies, and governance thereof all arise from some of the big enterprise challenges of the day: greater transparency, access to authoritative information across domains and user communities, enabling the accurate understanding of that information so that it can be used effectively, reductions in redundancy, and so forth. It's quite ambitious, utterly necessary, and requires elements that touch on a very, very rich combination of issues in applied ontology.    (1GT1)

Previously, I've worked on a variety of ontologies, ontology-based projects, and use contexts. That variety has included projects in the commercial, military, and research worlds, and sometimes projects coming from the (increasingly active) open-source/ orientation (I like that). Some of these projects have been product-focused, some evaluation-focused, some internally-prioritized R&D, and some flexibly-focused on providing the semantic ingredients to whatever will solve some set of a community's problems (I like that, too). The applications of ontology on which I've worked include search and retrieval of documents or data; entity extraction; machine inference; information fusion; interpretive data monitoring; context and relevance representation; topic-hierarchy enrichment of fundamental ontologies; question-answering; evaluation frameworks; interface customization; knowledge elicitation and capture. I started my working ontology career with a dive into the deep end: six years of ontological engineering at Cycorp.    (19RN)

My Ph.D. is in Philosophy, from the University of Minnesota. Minnesota's philosophical strength is in philosophy of science, and that tradition has definitely influenced my understanding of models, evidence, community knowledge development, and what it means for individuals to break down the world differently, across domains or within a domain. While my own academic specialization is epistemology, the methods and insights of philosophy of science are a major influence on my approach to ontology. [For the non-philosophers: epistemologists study knowledge, reasoning, and belief; they may be more or less attentive to, or regarding of, empirical matters such as the findings of cognitive scientists, or historical studies of knowledge-seeking enterprises]. My academic training included significant helpings of formal logic, philosophy of science, and feminist and/or pluralist philosophy thrown. My dissertation work fell, more specifically, within Social Epistemology, a subfield of epistemology that incorporates attention to collaborative knowledge formation and/or the roles of social contexts and communities in reasoning and knowledge formation, even when considering individual reasoners.    (19RO)

As one of the few epistemologists working in applied formal ontology, I tend to have reasoning perpetually in mind when developing formal ontology. In part, this is a matter of habit; in part, it reflects a conscious difference in methodology. For both reasons, I keep in mind the reasoning, beliefs, awareness, and decisions an ontology supports. What will users do with it, either directly or via some system(s) of which it is a part? Is this ontology intended to support some knowledge-building community, process, or exchange? If so, does it suit its purpose, overall? What belief formation is most supported by it, and how well does that match the desired knowledge? Given the context, does the ontology incorporate and support good epistemic practices? These are the most motivating questions for me, even when I am down in the weeds of some bit of representation.    (19RP)