As noted elsewhere, I recently made a presentation at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in a session entitled Earth
and Space Science Cyberinfrastructure: Application and Theory of
Most presenters were focused on the development, integration, and use of formal ontologies. Such ontologies are created from the top down.
In contrast, with my collaborators I’ve been focused on ontology development from the bottom up (please see the figure below). This made me the only presenter who discussed the creation of informal ontologies. To convey the looser formality, some refer to such ontologies as folksonomies.
(There are a lot of acronyms in this figure, and a fairly complex workflow. Please surf my blog and especially my formal publications and elsewhere if you’re interested in the details.)
As the figure seems to imply, informal ontologies are dynamically generated – possibly on demand. For this reason, they are also virtual ontologies. (I believe I’ve just coined a new term!)
Of course, integration of formal and informal ontologies will be a future requirement.
But at the moment, there’s still plenty of room for the basics at bottom 😉