OntologySummit2010: Present "Requirements" - community input    (25HM)

This is the workspace for community input to the focused discussion outlined below ...    (25HN)

Track Label: Requirements - Subtrack Label: Present    (25HO)

Track Co-champions: AmandaVizedom    (25HP)

Mission: To survey the existing roles filled and activites performed by working ontologists, along with the skills required and where they typically get them.    (25HQ)

Pertinent questions:    (25HR)

Discussion:    (25I3)

(Please insert your remarks below. Kindly identify yourself and date you input.)    (25I4)

Outreach    (25N8)

We know that there is an immense amount of knowledge within this community about various people and organizations who have, use, or need ontologists. This comes out in many forms, from positive references to projects and activities to expressions of frustration brought on by the need to work with, or clean up after, the activities of people hired to do ontology but lacking in the needed knowledge and experience. Often these hiring organizations express frustrations of their own; they do not have ontological expertise internally, and they cannot find, or figure out how to find, qualified and experienced ontologists to meet their needs. Others simply don’t understand that developing good, usable ontology requires the some specialized skills.    (25N9)

Within the community of working applied ontologists (in “industry,” as they say), we also have many experiences with these frustrations. We also see mismatches between the preparation provided by the few in-depth programs that exist and the skills needed on the job. A university-trained ontologist may, it turns out, be no more useful on the job than a home-rolled ontologist. There is also much variation in skill needed across jobs and contexts, and we feel that we don’t, as a community, have a good sense of this. We need to have that understanding, if we are to create effective, quality training for the ontologists of the future.    (25NA)

We know that there are many people and organizations not represented in this community who nonetheless are doing ontology work in some form, employing ontologist, or have a need for skilled ontologists. We also know that there is a persistent gap between the community of skilled ontologists and the organizations who need them. The accuracy and usefulness of our Requirements gathering will depend very much on how well we are able to cross that gap. So, we will do outreach.    (25NB)

To make that outreach effective, we need to harvest the knowledge mentioned in the first paragraph above: awareness of people and organizations, beyond the ontolog community, who have, use, or need ontologists. So, here are the questions to you:    (25NC)

Panel Session: "What Are We Training For?"    (285J)

The focal synchronous discussion for the Requirements Track is ConferenceCall_2010_02_04.    (285K)

Session description (draft as of 2010.01.29):    (285L)

Title: "What Are We Training For?"    (285M)

Abstract    (285N)

The "Content" and "Quality" tracks of this Summit focus, respectively, on identifying the subject matter that might form the content of ontologist training and on means of delivery that maximize quality in both the training itself and the ontologists it produces. For either of these discussions to be effective, however, we need to have a sense of the target: what is the training supposed to accomplish?    (285O)

We will begin with remarks from our panelists, each of whom embodies one or more end-user (or "consumer") perspectives: those who hire ontologists and need a reliable way to identify qualified candidates; those looking for training that will adequately prepare them for careers as working ontologists; those who hire, manage, or evaluate ontologists and have insight into the value of various elements of preparation; those who need supplemental training for themselves or staff to meet changing work needs. We will also look at the forthcoming Requirements survey, though we will not walk through all of it, or ask people to complete it, during this session. Questions, Answers, and Open Discussion will follow, with the aim of further developing our community understanding of the needs to which ontologist training ought to be addressed.    (285P)

The session plan is to have each panelist speak for 10 minutes, assuming a small number of panelists. Default topic for each is the set of general questions to which the Requirements Track and this Session are addressed:    (285V)

Panelists    (285R)
Goals    (285T)

The Ontology Summit community is in general agreement that the most valuable and urgently needed training will be informed not only by theoretical considerations but also, and centrally, by the needs of ontologists seeking employment and employers seeking quality, useful ontologists. Our understanding of those needs, however, is scattered and divergent. This Panel session, and the "Requirements" track generally, are aimed at developing a richer and more clear picture of the requirements of employability (those trained are well-prepared for the available jobs) and deployability (those who hire trained ontologists find them ready and able to perform the needed work). The goal is not necessarily to maximize coverage within this session; the surveys, wiki, forum discussion, and other activities all the way up to the March face-to-face will each play a role in such maximization. Rather, the goal is to bring a strong "end-user" voice to the discussion, and to stimulate thinking and discussion across the Summit community as a whole.    (285U)

See ConferenceCall_2010_02_04 for final description, materials, and post-call transcripts.    (28GC)

Contributing and Encouraging Community Input    (29OA)

Folks, if you haven't already responded to the Requirements Survey, please do so soon! All three Surveys are scheduled to close on Monday, 22 February 2010 so that we'll have some time for analysis before the next virtual session and the face-to-face. Survey links are here: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OntologySummit2010_Survey.    (29IF)

Also, I've written up a solicitation for broader community input: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OntologySummit2010_Survey_Solicit and am doing my best to circulate it widely. Your help would be most appreciated! Please forward the link or the message, with your own encouragement, to others whom you see as stakeholders in the future of ontology training! Greater quantity and diversity in responses to Survey-2, in particular, gives us a richer and more reliable picture of the needs current and future ontologist must be ready to meet.    (29IG)

Finally, do feel free to post here with your thoughts and contributions. What do you think needs more, or the most, emphasis? What are we leaving out? What are your experiences with the shortcomings of current ontology training? Availability? Consistency? Quality? Appropriateness to needs to student body? Go ahead and add your comments to this CommunityInput Wiki page. That's what it's here for!    (29IH)

(-AmandaVizedom / 2010.02.19-08:49 EST)    (29IK)

(Follow my example here and not my example on remarks above: Please sign your contributions with you WikiWord name and include the date. Thanks!)    (29IJ)