From Terminology to Ontology

Conceptual relations are the basic precondition that lead to understanding terminology. But what is behind these relationships? What relations exist between terms? How can a semantic network be created with conceptual relations? And how does this help us to re-use terminology in computer-readable ontologies?

Unravelling conceptual relations

Within conceptual relations, there is a distinction between hierarchical and non-hierarchical relations. Most relations are hierarchical. However, non-hierarchical relationships are indispensable for delving deeper into a specific subject area. Relevant conceptual relationships need to be defined per company and subject area. Defining relation types is an important step towards optimized knowledge management.

Valuable company knowledge

Once the conceptual relations have been established, concepts and relationships can be used to create a semantic network: some terminology systems offer the possibility of building concept maps. A concept map represents conceptual relations using nodes and edges. They are quite useful for understanding technical terms and for putting them into context. This facilitates the production of definitions by terminologists and coordination in the terminology circle. Concept maps take the terminology database to the next level: to a comprehensive knowledge base for the entire company.

Conceptual relations as templates for Ontologies

Once or if concept maps have already been created, the next step is ontology. An ontology is a formal representation of knowledge in standardized ontology languages. Essentially, it is the semantic enrichment of concepts with attributes and relationships between concepts. Ontologies are used in many semantic applications, such as chatbots, semantic searches and language assistance systems. The concept maps created in the context of terminology management are virtually predestined as the basis for ontologies. Why? Because the specialist preparation of concepts is the essential core of terminology work. The value of terminology work can be increased many times over through this targeted re-use since this terminology finds its way into marketing and sales with ontologies.

The path to the knowledge network: step by step

And how can you go from an individual term, to a concept map, to ontology? You can find out in my Webinar “Von der Terminologie zur Ontologie” on the 23rd of April at 10 AM! Register to accompany me on this exciting journey. Please Note: This Webinar will be taking place in German.


Photo taken by Jenny Seidel

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