Re: Ontology Meeting

Nicola Guarino (
Thu, 2 Oct 1997 17:20:03 +0200

>In the past a small theory group has met after the main meeting. I
>believe there is still interest in doing this. I'll contact the
>usual suspects about the agenda - if anyone has suggestions, please
>call (or e-mail) me. (408-463-4021 or

Dear Bob,

as you know, I have attended with great interest and (reasonable)
satisfaction the latest ANSI ontology meetings, but I am now wondering
whether it is worth while continuing affording the related costs in terms
of time and money without some concrete project management supported by
suitable fundings.

I have the feeling that the (scarce) economical and human resources
related to this "Reference Ontology" effort are now concentrating on using
"brute force" in order to i) get a reasonable coverage, and ii) establish
useful alignment relationships between existing ontologies. I am convinced
that a patient and systematic theoretical effort and a serious attempt to
reach an agreement on fundamental theoretical distinctions are both
unavoidable in order to achieve a real useful result.

I am also convinced that such theoretical effort is *feasible*
(i.e., it has good chances of success) given the present status of
scientific (especially philosophical) research in the field, but it is not
clear to me whether people belonging to this "Ontostd" group really share
this feeling.

If there is a *real* interest in trying to make some progress in
agreeing on basic theoretical distinctions, I will be happy to afford this
trip (and even more happy if somebody is willing to offer some monetary
contribution...), and contribute to the organization of a full-day session
on theoretical issues, hopefully not limited to a few people. My own
contribution could be a deeply revised version of my paper "Some organizing
principles for a unified top-level ontology", which includes an top-level
ontology consisting of about 100 basic concepts.

I would also be happy to establish a link between this ANSI
initiative and the conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems we
are organizing in Trento, Italy ( This
broad-scope conference could be a good opportunity for augmenting the
visibility of this ANSI initiative, and maybe we can discuss of the
modality of such a link in the first day of the ontology meeting.


-- Nicola


Nicola Guarino
National Research Council phone: +39 49 8295751
LADSEB-CNR fax: +39 49 8295778
Corso Stati Uniti, 4 email:
I-35127 Padova
(*** UPDATED 3 Sept, 1997 ***)