List of Ontologies

In some industry sectors, there is one or more ontology striving to become a standard for that sector. The list below shows some example ontologies only because senior executives might face the decision to use or not to use them.

Each ontology below comes with pros and cons, and in no way is this a recommendation to use any of them (aka: use at your own risk). In general, the goal of these ontologies makes a lot of sense (to standardize and facilitate the exchange of data within its respective sector). It’s just too bad that in numerous cases, politics (concept bloating) has replaced best-practices for ontology design.

The winner is Gist, Semantic Arts’ minimalist upper ontology for the enterprise. Gist is designed to provide the maximum coverage of typical business concepts with the fewest number of primitives and the least amount of ambiguity. The ontologies below each come with risk. Avoid unnecessary risk, go with gist.

Ontology NameIndustry Sector
FIBO (Financial Industry Business Ontology)Banking/Finance
HL7 (Health Level Seven)Healthcare
eCl@ssManufacturing & Retail
HR-XMLHuman Resources
EDItEURBook and Publishing Industry
XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language)Financial Reporting
STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data)Manufacturing & Engineering
MISMO (Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization)Real Estate/Mortgage
Dublin CoreLibrary & Information Sciences

Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) is a top-level ontology that provides a basic, domain-neutral framework for the development of more specific, domain-oriented ontologies. It is designed to support scientific research across diverse fields by providing a common structure for the organization of information.

Common Core Ontologies (CCO) are a suite of interoperable ontologies designed to facilitate information integration and interoperability among disparate data systems.

Unified Foundational Ontology (UFO) is a formal, complex and theoretically deep ontological framework aimed at providing a foundational ontology for conceptual modeling, knowledge representation, and ontology engineering across various domains. It is deeply rooted in philosophical, logical, and cognitive principles and seeks to offer a comprehensive and principled understanding of basic ontological categories and relations that underpin the structure of reality.