Some Interesting Sites Concerning Applied Ontology, Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology

These sites cover a spectrum of refereed journals, academic sites, government sites, and sites of private companies.  I offer them primarily to undergraduate students interested in such fields as logic, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science, and as an introduction to areas in which philosophical training and skills can be put to good (and challenging) use in industry and science.  Looking at them and chasing down additional references through them will lead to similar sites and additional literature.

PhilPapers.  This is an ambitious undertaking by some Aussie philospohers (primarily metaphysicians and meta-metaphysicians) to create a central web site for professional academic philosophers and university philosophy students.  I applaud the effort.  You can frequently use it to track down some interesting discussions or publications.  I think it's a great idea and I hope it continues to work well.

The National Center for Ontological Research.  This is primarily a collaborative effort of a variety of academic institutions oriented, for the most part, towards the use (and improvement) of ontologies in scientific domains and applications.  It is headed by Barry Smith, who was trained as a philosopher and is still editor of The Monist, but who recently has been giving talks titled "Why I Am Not a Philosopher".  You figure it out.

The journal Applied Ontology.  This journal is devoted to (surprise) papers pertaining to the application of ontology and ontologies in scientific domains.  Accordingly, it is highly "interdisciplinary" and the quality of articles is variable.  But many of them are excellent and will provide a kind of insight not available elsewhere.

The Duke Ontology Group.  (C'mon guys.  The acronym is "DOG".)  This is mostly a bunch of biostats people at Duke,  serious about ontologies and using them.

The Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology.  Right here at NC State.  Another science group very serious about ontologies and their use.

The Open Biomedical Ontologies.  The OBO organization has developed guidelines and principles for developing formal ontologies for the biomedical ontologies.  Its "Foundry" is a collection is a collection of ontologies.  The jury is out on the ultimate acceptability of the principles and practices employed by the OBO, but a lot of important work has been done in terms of the ontologies.

The Unified Medical Language System.  The UMLS is a long-term (~20 years) project of the US National Library of Medicine to provide a formal framework for integrating multiple (over 100) large biomedical dictionaries, thesauri, ontologies, and "coding schemes".  The knowledge representation makes use of a layer of "concepts" to which items in each of the "vocabularies" or "sources" are mapped and which provide a way of translating from one to the other.  Though flawed in certain fundamental respects, it is a very powerful tool and an impressive effort.  In addition to its "Metathesaurus" (which is the set of sources integrated through the concept set) it also provides some heavy-duty computational linguistic tools (now, alas, coded in Java).  You can get your own (free) license to it and experiment with the UMLS Knowledger Server, which is a web interface for exploring the various sources and relations among them.

Cycorp.  A paradigm example of good (and useful) AI, the original goal was to create a knowledge based system capable of reasoning and knowledge at the level of  a 12-year old human.  Regardless of its success (or lack of reaching it), the result is a powerful system that is ontology based and very well thought out.  Students of logic, artificial intelligence, and philosophy of language will appreciate the details.   This site was reimplemented in 2009 by my Semantic Technologies Group at GlaxoSmthKline.  It contains direct access to a number of papers pertaining to drug discovery, clinical trials, optimized pharmaceutical manufacturing, and the use of "semantic technologies" (primarily formal ontologies and coding schemes) in the pharmaceutical industry.