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The goal of the National Center for Ontological Research is to advance ontological investigation within the United States. NCOR serves as a vehicle to coordinate, to enhance, to publicize, and to seek funding for ontological research activities. It lays a special focus on ontology training and on the establishment of tools and measures for quality assurance of ontologies. NCOR provides ontology services to multiple organizations, including the US Department of Defense.


September 7-8, 2016 CTS Ontology Workshop 2016, Clinical Terminology Shock and Awe, Buffalo, NY


Ontology Group Meeting, 4pm, Monday, April 25, 2016

Venue: Jeannette Martin Room, 567 Capen Hall​, Buffalo

Organized jointly with the UB Center for Multisource Information Fusion

June 10, 2016

2pm Discussion on establishing an Industry Ontology Foundry, with talks by Barry Smith and Hedi Karay
3pm Presentation by Boran Brodaric on Water Feature Ontology and Timeless Wholes

May 19-20, 2016 Ontological Approaches to Sensor Data Analysis, Amherst, NY

March 21, 2016, 141 Park Hall, Buffalo

Fabian Neuhaus talk on DOL: The Distributed Ontology Language

February 17-19, 2016 Gainesville, FL

Workshop on BFO and the Ontology of Social Entities

Feb 2 and all Tuesdays until April 19 1-3:50pm, 141 Park Hall, Buffalo

A series of seminars on various ontology-related topics, listed here.

Feb. 1, 2016, 567 Capen Hall, Buffalo Meeting on various ontology topics, including:

Non-Coding RNA Ontology (Alan Ruttenberg)
Ontology for Manufacturing (Francesco Furini)
  • We propose an ontology focused on the representation of composite materials in general and what are called 'Functionally Graded Materials' (FGM) in particular. The scope of the ontology is to provide information about the components of such materials, the manufacturing processes involved in creating such materials, and different sorts of applications in dentistry and other fields. The ontology is developed using Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) and parts of of Ontology for Biomedical Investigation (OBI).
Plant Life Cycle Ontology (Barry Smith)

Meeting on Current UB Ontology Projects, IHI, 3pm, December 14, 2015

Information Meeting on Joint Doctrine Ontology, Herndon, VA 20171, September 16-17, 2015

The Role of Ontology in Big Cancer Data, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, May 12-13, 2015

CTS Ontology Workshop 2015, Ontology in Practice. The Fourth Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Workshop. Charleston, SC, September 23-25, 2015

Symposium on Military Codes of Ethics, Buffalo, NY 14260, November 2, 2015

See also here and here

Studying Ontology in Buffalo

Areas of Study

Careers in ontology


Advantages of the Financial Report Ontology in Accounting Research

UB Ontologists Win Bioinformatics Integration Award to Support National Institutes of Health

Announcing Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Affinity Group

Information Overload in the Era of Big Data

Botanists building ontologies to cope with information overload

UB Applied Informatics Portal unveiled.


Problems in Ontology, Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, NY, Mondays from 4-6pm, August 29 - December 5, 2012

Ontological Engineering, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University at Buffalo, NY, Fall 2013

Ontological Engineering, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Department of Computer Science and Department of Philosophy University at Buffalo, NY, Mondays from 4-7pm, August 25 - December 1, 2014

Analytical Metaphysics, Department of Philosophy, University at Buffalo, NY, Tuesdays 1-3:50pm, Spring Semester, 2016


How to Develop and Use OBO Foundry Ontologies, Tutorial and Workshop at ICBO, Graz, Austria, July 21, 2012

Basic Formal Ontology 2.0: Tutorial at ICBO/FOIS, Graz, Austria, July 25, 2012

Introduction to Protégé, Tutorial, Buffalo, NY, August 11-12, 2012

Basic Formal Ontology 2.0, Tutorial, Buffalo, NY, August 18-19, 2012

Tutorial: Information Ontologies for the Intelligence Community, [ STIDS Conference, November 11, 2013

Tutorial: Ontology of Military Planning and Operations Assessment, STIDS Conference, November 18, 2014

Tutorial: Basic Formal Ontology 2015, International Conference on Biomedical Ontology, Lisbon, 2015

Defining Ontology

An ontology is a representation of some part of reality, (e.g. medicine, social reality, physics, etc.). Smith states that: “Ontology is the science of what is, of the kinds and structures of objects, properties, events, processes and relations in every area of reality…Ontology seeks to provide a definitive and exhaustive classification of entities in all spheres of being.”1 To be an accurate representation of reality an ontology includes the types of entities and events in a given domain (along with their definitions) arranged in a hierarchical structure, along with relations (such as part-of, depends-on, caused-by, etc. where necessary). Ontologies enable the formulation of robust and shareable descriptions of a given domain by providing a common controlled vocabulary for doctrine writers, IT Developers, and war-fighters alike, thereby allowing these disparate communities to communicate with each other. An ontology should be a shared resource between communities, and its continued collaborative development should support the integration of information and facilitate knowledge discovery.2 These two goals are realized by ensuring wide dissemination of the ontology, so that it will be used by many stakeholders, and its terms will be correspondingly familiar and readily used for search.

The Philosophome

Philosophome Website

Philosophome Wiki

Semantics of Biodiversity

Paper: Semantics in Support of Biodiversity Knowledge Discovery (PLoS ONE, 2013)

Video Presentations from: Semantics of Biodiversity Workshop (2012)

Ontologies as a method of viewing data
Basic Formal Ontology (BFO)
How to build an ontology with BFO
Tracking referents with Instance Unique Identifiers (IUIs)
Tracking Changes in Our Understanding of Reality: Reality vs. Beliefs
Darwin Core (DwC) and Basic Formal Ontology: Putting it All Together
Building Darwin Core top-down in BFO
Organisms, photographs, media
How to re-use ontologies
Principles of singular nouns, secondary use, understandability
Writing good definitions (DwC Examples)
Management strategies
Ontologies for reuse (BFO, EnvO, IDO, OBI, Plant Ontology , Uberon, IAO)
Educational resources (OBI, Protege, BFO)

Finance and Economics

An Application of Basic Formal Ontology to the Ontology of Services and Commodities, Institute for Business Informatics, University of Koblenz, Germany July 23, 2013

Barry Smith, Reference Data Integration: A Strategy for the Future, Financial Reference Data Management Conference (FIMA), New York, March 2012

Military and Intelligence Ontology

JFCOM: Semantic Web and Joint Training (2010)

I2WD: Semantic Enhancement for DSGS-A: Distributed Development of a Shared Semantic Resource (2012-13)

I2WD: PED Fusion via Enterprise Ontology

Common Core Ontologies (preliminary statement)

Joint Doctrine Ontology

Ontology of Planning

Ontology of Planning

Ontology of Engineering

Bob Young: Towards a Reference Ontology for Manufacturing (2016)

Ontology of Engineering

Engineering Life Cycle Ontology

Modeling and Simulation

Buffalo Engineering Ontology

Ontology for Clinical and Translational Science

Clinical and Translational Science Ontology Group

Immunology Ontologies

Suggested Reading

Ontology: An Introduction

Coordinated Evolution of Biomedical Ontologies

Avoiding Perspective-Relative Silos

Universal Core Semantic Layer

Training Videos

Ontology for Intelligence, Defense and Security

A Repeatable Process for Ontology Development

Avoiding Semantic Stovepipes: Five Ontological Principles for Interoperability

War-Fighter Ontology