Helpful materials on ontologies

This page contains links to resources that various members of the IOF have found useful. Many thanks to members for contributing these suggestions.

Curated lists

Curated list of semantic web resources: GIT site for a series of introductory articles on ontology and application. (@Fan)

Ontology talks and tutorials: list of ontology talks and tutorials curated by OWL@Manchester. (@Melinda)

IAOA Term List: A list of ‘core’ terms and their definitions used in formal and applied ontology. This list is intend to help in understanding possible differences in definitions that currently exist.

IAOA Education Material: Educational materials that are useful to instructors designing courses and students who want to learn more about applied ontology.

IAOA Book List

Introduction to ontologies

An introduction to Ontology Engineering – EBook by Maria Keet. Logic foundations for ontologies, methodologies for ontology design and some advanced techniques and topics (@ Todd)

Ontology Repositories

Industryportal – an ontology repository hosting around 30 ontologies from the industrial domain.

OBO Foundry: – an ontology repository of ontologies for the biological sciences

Industrial examples/ case studies using ontologies

Project Optique: Ontology based data access for Statoil. (@Melinda)

How ontologies are used to enable access to data: Tutorial by Elena Botoeva (@Melinda)

Basic Formal Ontology (BFO)

Publications on BFO-based engineering ontologies. (@Barry)

Experimental-OBO-Core: GIT site brings together key terms from a wide range of OBO projects into a single, small ontology. (@Chris M.)

ROBOT: A tool for working under the framework of the OBO (@Chris M)

BFO Tutorials: introductory and intermediate level video tutorials on BFO, made by Barry Smith.

Building ontologies and good practice guidelines

FIBO Build, Test, Deploy and Maintain Methodology: A white paper on financial industry business ontology development workflow (@Fan)

Ontoclean: Springer book chapter or powerpoint on using ontology for understanding, clarifying, making explicit and communicating people’s assumptions about the nature and structure of the world. (@Nicola G)

Guideline on Developing Good Ontologies in the Biomedical Domain with Description Logics: This short booklet provides a general introduction to ontologies (in the context of information systems) and their representation using Description Logic. Though the examples are drawn from the biomedical domain, they should be understandable to all (@Todd)

Building Ontologies for Engineers: video tutorials on the construction and application of ontologies in engineering, made by Barry Smith.


Guideline on Developing GoodOntologies in the Biomedical Domain with Description Logics: Though the book uses examples from the biomedical, the content is very understandable.

RDF/OWL cheat sheet: a list of core classes and properties in RDF, RDFS, and OWL. (@Melinda )

RDF Validation:  book on RDF validation using ShEx and SHACL. (@Fan )

Introduction to RDF: Introductory materials for those new to RDF (@melinda)


Rob Steven’s Blog: Rob Steven was one of the developers of the Pizza ontology at Manchester as well as the family history knowledge base. This is his blog, an accessible source of ideas and useful explanations (@melinda)

Ontologies Explained: A blog created by the System Health Lab, which aims to explain ontologies to beginners. Examples are maintenance based and drawn from real world use cases.

Ph.D. Theses

Ontological Foundations for Structural Conceptual Models, G.Guizzardi (2005) – Focusing on an ontology of endurants (objects), as opposed to perdurants (events, processes). Addressing issues such as: (i) the general notions of types and their instances; (ii) objects, their intrinsic properties and property-value spaces; (iii) the relation between identity and classification; (iii) distinctions among sorts of types (e.g., kinds, roles, phases, mixins) and their admissible relations; (iv) distinctions among sorts of relational properties; (v) Part-whole relations.


Building Ontologies with Basic Formal Ontology: An introduction to the field of applied ontology with BFO based examples, covering theories, design practices and applications. (@Barry)