At a meeting of minds at the KMI, Open University on Friday 30th April, 2010, it was decided the UK ontology community should attempt to coordinate its efforts in a slightly more structured (I hesitate to use the word ‘formal’ ) manner. The participants, including both myself and Janna Hastings from EBI, represented a variety of organisations, both inside and outside of academia, from areas including bioinformatics, health care, chemistry, formal ontology, ontology languages, geographical surveying, philosophy, engineering and computer science.
It appeared to me that there was a general consensus in the room that present ontology work in the UK appears as an archipelago; formed of multiple, disparate efforts, often without knowledge of things occurring in organizations up and down the land. The desire is to better coordinate and collaborate, as is the true spirit of ontology work; who coordinates the coordinators indeed. We need to connect these islands and form our pangaea.
The outcome of the meeting was the establishment of a UK Ontology Network, whose members are those working in ontology and ontology related projects based in the UK. As work continues on creating a more permanent web presence (this is one of my tasks so I can say with confidence it will be done ‘soon’), a mailing list has already been established. For those interested, please subscribe to the Google Group to join us in our efforts to give a stronger cross-domain community feel to the UK based ontology work that we all know goes on, though we may not know exactly what and where, or by whom. Hopefully we will know soon.