Taxonomy or Ontology

April 1, 2013

The WAND blog article “Common Taxonomy Questions: What is the difference between a Taxonomy and an Ontology?” attempts to clear up the misconception between taxonomy and ontology. The article details that these are two common words in the information management world but many people do not truly understand the difference.

“Taxonomy is a collection of terms that are connected by broader term, narrower term, related term, and synonym relationships.”

The article makes an interesting comparison. Taxonomy is a tree that has a parent/child relationship with terms and it usually covers a specific subject area. Taxonomies can be a valuable tool when adding structure/content to unstructured information, which makes the information more easily searchable. Multiple taxonomies can be used together as filters to help make the search experience more powerful and exact. Popular sites such as Amazon and Costco use this tool on their sites. When it comes to ontologies the author makes an interesting comparison.

“Ontologies can be thought of more like a web, with many different types of relationships between all concepts. Ontologies can have infinite number of relationships between concepts and it is easier to create relationships between concepts across different subject domains.”

Ontologies are handy for those who want a more sophisticated information model that could be valuable when doing advanced natural language processing or text analytics. Though the name of the system is WAND Product and Service Taxonomy believe it or not it is also an ontology. The blog provides a good distinction between ontology and taxonomy but then says that the WAND system is actually both, which makes one wonder how do you really distinguish the two. Looks like more questions than answers. Here we go again.

April Holmes, April 01, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext


One Response to “Taxonomy or Ontology”

  1. An Ontological Understanding of Dialogue in Education « Learning Change | Reason & Existenz on April 5th, 2013 11:46 am

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