Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Computer Science and Engineering


An ontology is a computational model of some portion of the world. It is often captured in some form of a semantic network-a graph whose nodes are concepts or individual objects and whose arcs represent relationships or associations among the concepts. This network is augmented by properties and attributes, constraints, functions, and rules that govern the behavior of the concepts. Formally, an ontology is an agreement about a shared conceptualization, which includes frameworks for modeling domain knowledge and agreements about the representation of particular domain theories. Definitions associate the names of entities in a universe of discourse (for example, classes, relations, functions, or other objects) with human readable text describing what the names mean, and formal axioms that constrain the interpretation and well formed use of these names. For information systems, or for the Internet, ontologies can be used to organize keywords and database concepts by capturing the semantic relationships among the keywords or among the tables and fields in a database. The semantic relationships give users an abstract view of an information space for their domain of interest.


© 1997 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)