At SemTech in June 2010, several speakers including Professor Deb McGuiness drew a very clear line was drawn between what a taxonomist does and what an ontologist does. Taxonomists build hierarchies, and ontologists determine classes or categories. In other words, ontologies are neat and unambiguous, and taxonomies are a bit messy.
Defining classes or ontology work typically precedes building the taxonomy. Defining the classes is like writing a specification for the taxonomy; in fact defining classes is the same as defining facets. The goal of a taxonomist and ontologies should be to define a specific, unambiguous description of a term that helps manage how we find and organize content so the pathways are clear and specific; adding an ontology ensures that the term is placed in the most specific categories to help ensure clarity and lack of ambiguity. I would argue that no taxonomy is useful unless it is faceted – that is, has been divided into classes. Taxonomies work best when they share homogenous properties, and when they are smaller and focused.
By using class analysis, or facet analysis, several problems are solved:
1)Clarify specific terms by situation or functions:
2)Ease longterm maintenance issues:
3)Facilitate sharing and importing taxonomies
Continues @ http://thetaxonomyblog.wordpress.com
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