I stumbled across a presentation from the National Center for Ontological Research (NCOR)’s Ontology Summit 2011 which declares NCOR’s goals to “advance ontology as a science” and “foster development of high quality ontologies” and “develop measures of quality for ontologies to establish best practices.”
Ontology is both a branch of philosophy and a fast-growing component of computer science concerned with the development of formal representations of the entities and relations existing in a variety of application domains. Ontology has been shown to have considerable potential on the level of both pure research and applications. It provides foundations for diverse technologies in areas such as information integration, natural language processing, data annotation, and the construction of intelligent computer systems.
This is made somewhat clearer by this section called “Defining Ontology” on the wiki page under “Ontology Driven Implementation of Semantic Services for the Enterprise Environment (ODISSEE) Workshop:”
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.” 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.
With all this collaborative facilitation and integration across robust, annotative domains, I’m pretty sure this is all just a secret strategy to get people to hate philosophy.