gist is our minimalist upper ontology. It is designed to have the maximum coverage of typical business ontology concepts with the fewest number of primitives and the least amount of ambiguity. Our gist ontology is free (as in free speech and free beer--it is covered under the Creative Commons 3.0 attribution share-alike license). You can use as you see fit for any purpose, just give us attribution.

Ongoing development of gist is open to the public at the gist GitHub repository.

Latest Version

Version 9.3.0 of gist was released on July 2, 2020. It is now available for download from the button above.

First, the big news: gist has de-modularized

Yup, while there were some benefits to having gist divided into separate modules there were also a few problems. Much of gist is interconnected, as a result some terms got moved up to gistTop instead of the module you would think. In the end it seems that most people would just import all of gist as that was easy and simple. You can listen to the discussion about de-modularizing gist from the gist Council discussion recording.

This release also includes:

  • Merged into a single module/file all of gist except the gistDeprecated module. Fixes issue #292.
  • Removed import diagram generation and catalog files from bundling. Fixes issue #309.
  • Amended bundle.yaml to add rdfs:isDefinedBy to all ontology terms during release bundling process. Fixes issue #266.
  • Added gist:EmailAddress as a subclass of gist:ElectronicMessageAddress. Fixes issue #99.
  • Changed gist:orderedMemberOf from Inverse Functional to Functional. Fixes issue #262.
  • Added gist:Collection as the range, instead of domain, of gist:memberOf. Fixes issue #142.
  • Removed redundant disjoints. Fixes issue #254.

Please refer to the cumulative Release Notes for details about what changed in each release.

gist by Semantic Arts, Inc. is licensed under creative commons, which only requires that you attribute the source ( when you use it. Any concepts used from gist are to remain in the gist namespace. (i.e., gist:Obligation).

(Can't afford free? Purchase a perpetual license)

  • Gist has a small number of top level concepts from which everything else derives. And these concepts are not philosophical abstractions like endurants and perdurants, or qualia, they are normal terms whose definitions are quite close to what you already believe.
  • Gist has extensive and fine grained disjointness at the highest level. It turns out that in order for an upper ontology to help you avoid making logical errors in your derived enterprise or application ontology, it needs to make use of disjointness.  Without disjointness, the reasoner does not find logic errors.

If you'd like to use the files locally, download a zipped archive which contains the modules of gist as well as documentation for the ontology.

You can also import these files directly into your ontology editor of choice (Protegé, Topbraid, etc.).
View the complete release notes

gist Council

We have an active governance and best practices community around gist, called the gist Council. We have a teleconference the first Thursday of every month. Practitioners and users of gist come together to discuss how to use gist and make suggestions on its evolution. If you would like to be involved, send us a note with a description of your use of or interest in gist. We are trying to keep this relatively small and active.