What is an ontology anyway?

Chances are anyone who has come across the terms ‘Semantic Web’ or ‘Web 3.0’, has also come across the term ‘ontology’. But what is an ontology anyway? For philosophers it is the study of all existence (including God’s!).

Computer scientists though have a more practical view of an ontology.A recent article in the IT Professional magazine of the IEEE Computer Society examines what an ontology means for the Semantic Web:

“An ontology is a method of representing items of knowledge (ideas, facts, things, whatever) in a way that defines the relationships and classifications of concepts within a specified domain of knowledge. It’s this ability to define a variety of useful relationships among items of knowledge, and to implement these relationships in software, that make an ontology such a powerful gadget in the knowledge manager’s toolkit”.

You can download the complete article from here.