Librarians are taught the differences between ontologies and taxonomies and their functionality. We know that taxonomies are used to classify while ontologies are used to specify. However, within the technology field the distinction between the two has blurred because there is no physical object or place. This article attempts to explain the distinction between both terms and the importance of knowing the difference to make decisions when it comes to metadata management for those who deal with data at any enterprise- level.
Taxonomies provide the categories that a given entity can be described by. The purpose of classifying is to minimize ambiguity. Using hierarchies is a popular classification tool that knowledge systems tend to use. The down side is that it’s possible for the same work to have more than one categorization. The article gives the example of English Fairies being the same as Cornish Pixies.
Ontologies on the other hand can describe anything by establishing classes, relationships and constraints that act on the concepts and entities within a given system. The technology sector has taken advantage of this and thus has created its own ontologies for the purpose of enabling knowledge sharing and reuse. In the context of knowledge sharing the term ontology is used to mean “specification of conceptualization”. It is used as a description of the concepts and relationships that can exist for an agent or a community of agents.
According to Kurt Cagel, Principal Consultant for Semantical, LLC, ontologies are semantic friendly and will phase out the standalone taxonomy tools. He believes that taxonomists will put their skills into enriching metadata using semantic tools.
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Heyrling Oropeza/ Spring 2019/ INFO 653-01