Taxonomies and ontologies explained

This webinar (featuring Andreas Blumauer, CEO of Semantic Web Company and Ian Piper of Tellura) explores both taxonomies and ontologies, and demonstrates how they work together to help you improve your knowledge modelling.

Ontologies form the framework, cabling, rules and practices within which your information needs to work. Think of a type of thing, and your ontology is effectively a way to describe how to put it together and make it work with other types of things. An ontology doesn't have to contain an actual thing; it's more like a template, or a recipe, for how a thing will look and behave. Taxonomies are more concrete entities. A taxonomy contains real things, and ideally these are things that conform to an ontology.

Think of it as being a bit like your word processor. You can create document templates in programs like Word. A template contains a set of styles and other constructs that will define how your documents will look; headlines in a particular typeface and colour, body text in another, and so on. Templates ensure consistency in your documents; when you create a new document it will look like other documents based on that template. You can think of an ontology as a template for structured information.

When you create a Word document, then it's a concrete piece of content. The content is up to you as the author, and the template is there to ensure consistency and conformance.

Going back to taxonomies and ontologies; in taxonomy management systems like PoolParty a taxonomy is a concrete set of concepts whose structure conforms to the SKOS ontology. The ontology sets the rules; the taxonomy is a concrete example of an information structure that meets those rules.

Here is the webinar. It's about an hour long. We hope you find it useful.


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