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Ontology Design Methodology

As part of the earlier work on the TOVE Ontologies, Grüninger proposed the first formal methodology for the design and evaluation of ontologies in first-order logic based on the notion of competency questions:

Ontologies: Principles, Methods, and Applications
Designing Generic Ontologies
Methodology for the Design and Evaluation of Ontologies
The Role of Competency Questions in Enterprise Engineering

For any given ontology, the goal is to agree upon a shared terminology and set of constraints on the objects in the ontology. We must agree on the purpose and ultimate use of our ontologies. As a result, the central theme of the methodology is that all ontologies are evaluated with respect to a set of requirements or competency questions. A competency question is a first-order sentence that is intended to be provable from the ontology.

The papers describing the methodology are widely cited, and the methodology itself has been implemented by one company as part of their ontology design software tool.

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