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Possible Ontologies: How Reality Constrains the Development of Relevant Ontologies

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1 Author(s)
Hepp, M. ; Digital Enterprise Res. Inst., Innsbruck Univ.

For years, ontologies have been known in computer science as consensual models of domains of discourse, usually implemented as formal definitions of the relevant conceptual entities. Researchers have written much about the potential benefits of using them, and most of us regard ontologies as central building blocks of the semantic Web and other semantic systems. Unfortunately, the number and quality of actual, "non-toy" ontologies available on the Web today is remarkably low. This implies that the semantic Web community has yet to build practically useful ontologies for a lot of relevant domains in order to make the semantic Web a reality. Theoretically minded advocates often assume that the lack of ontologies is because the "stupid business people haven't realized ontologies' enormous benefits." As a liberal market economist, the author assumes that humans can generally figure out what's best for their well-being, at least in the long run, and that they act accordingly. In other words, the fact that people haven't yet created as many useful ontologies as the ontology research community would like might indicate either unresolved technical limitations or the existence of sound rationales for why individuals refrain from building them - or both. Indeed, several social and technical difficulties exist that put a brake on developing and eventually constrain the space of possible ontologies

Published in:

Internet Computing, IEEE  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )