Scientific Committees and Special Interest Groups

IAOA scientific committees and SIGs pursue significant long-term activity in technical areas within the broad field of the Association.

The active members of the scientific committees and SIGs are constituted through a call to the membership, and are not limited in number.

For each scientific committee, the Executive Council designates a chair or co-chairs. Scientific committees are responsible for carrying out some tasks on behalf of the Executive Council.

Scientific committees and SIGS report to EC at least twice a year and can bring issues to the EC whenever necessary. Each scientific committee and SIG has at least one Executive Council member who is involved as an active member, chair, or observer. 

The IAOA Scientific Committees and SIGs have dedicated wikis accessible through the IAOA Wiki.

Current Scientific Committees and SIGs

Currently active Scientific Committees and Special Interest Groups


Education Committee

The Education Committee works to advance education in applied ontology. Activities include development of shared education resources, in particular within the framework of the new Educational Series on Applied Ontology (ESAO), and steering of the recurring Interdisciplinary School on Applied Ontology (ISAO).

Mission Statement

The topic of ontology is not confined to one particular discipline and brings together individuals from multiple areas. Education allows the transfer of knowledge relating to ontology to be communicated both within and between these disciplines. It also allows new members to be brought into the field.
The Education Committee aims to bring together IAOA members who are passionate about Education, and facilitate the development and co-ordination of educational resources relating to ontology and ontologies.


  • The Education Committee wiki is a working repository of information about courses, educational materials, books, and other relevant matters.
  • The committee also has a mailing list, with public archives.

Chair: vacant

Previous Chairs
Education Committee Chair 2020

Chair: Zena Wood

Industry and Standards Technical Committee

Industry and Standards Technical Committee

The IAOA Industry and Standards Technical Committee (ISTC) has two core purposes: (a) to foster the use of applied ontology in standardization initiatives, and (b) to facilitate the interactions across people in industry and in applied ontology research. Activities include the dissemination of information about initiatives with the aim to gather experts interested in the development of ontologically sound standards, and the organization of virtual and physical meetings and events where to discuss how to understand and apply ontological approaches and methodologies.

Mission Statement

Standards may have a huge impact at the domain level, as in industry, communication and business, and on society at large. In order to better align the purpose and organization of standards, and to anticipate their consequences, it is important to improve clarity of standards and the understanding of the domains they address. The use of ontological analysis and ontology-based methodologies are important factors for the development of clear and well organized standards, and to ensure the correct understanding of their domain of application.

Today industry uses applications that crucially rely on semantic technologies. In the last 30 years, applied ontology has changed the way that information is understood and classified. Semantic technologies can be a decisive asset in exploitation of information potentialities in industry. This is especially true when robust and reliable information elaboration, sharing, and management are needed. The mutual discussion and interbreeding of industrial application concerns and applied ontology methodologies can improve the work of both communities and help to develop approaches better suited to understand and solve existing problems.

The ISTC aims to bring together IAOA members and people working in industry and standards development to facilitate information sharing as well as mutual discussion and co-ordination of activities and resources.


  • Stefano Borgo
  • Michael Gruninger
  • Amanda Vizedom


  • The Industry and Standards Technical Committee wiki serves as a collection and distribution point for information about its goals and initiatives.
  • The ISTC organizes the conference series Formal Ontologies Meet Industry (FOMI).


Semantic Web Applied Ontology Special Interest Group

Semantic Web Applied Ontology SIG

The Semantic Web Applied Ontology  SIG aims at bridging the gap between the Semantic Web community and the Ontology community.

Mission Statement

The role that ontologies play or can play in designing and employing semantic technologies has been widely acknowledged by the Semantic Web and Linked Data communities. But the level of collaboration between these communities and the Applied Ontology community has been much less than expected.

These communities actually share many common goals, common technologies, and a common interest in well-engineered applied ontologies. Many of those in the Applied Ontology community promote and use Semantic Web technologies and reasoning methods in everyday practice; similarly, many in the Semantic Web community advocate more rigorous and principled ontologies based on ontological analysis. All the communities share the need for a common semantic understanding and a formal representation of the domain at hand. The Semantic Web, Linked Data, Big Data, and Knowledge Graph communities also have challenges to do with large scale applications and linking of vast heterogeneous data, so these communities also have different foci.

The Semantic Web Applied Ontology SIG is established to bring all perspectives to the table, thus creating a forum for the multiple communities to work collaboratively in tackling common problems. All are welcome to participate regardless of membership or affiliation.


  • Mike Bennett
  • Andrea Westerinen

The Semantic Web Applied Ontology SIG maintains a wiki-based workspace and archives, to be found here.