Ontology and Taxonomy: Strange Bedfellows

Explore the relationship between Taxonomy and Ontology with this presentation by Michael Uschold  from a keynote talk at the International Conference on Semantic Computing. 

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The Menu (Taxonomy) vs. the Meal (Ontology)

Taxonomy and Thesauri:

  • Focus is on words, not concepts (the menu).
  • Relationships are between terms: synonym, hyponym, broader/narrower term.
  • Each term should refer to just one concept.


  • Focus is on concepts (the meal).
  • Relationships are between concepts.
  • Formal definitions.
  • Automated inference.

How do we bring it all together?

  • Understand the value where each approach adds the most value.
  • Find the touch points and link them all up.
  • Can Everyone and every tool live in harmony?
  • It is not impossible, we are pushing hard and it gets easier!





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