International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA)

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The Swiss-based International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA), formerly registered and located in Italy, originated from the ONTOINT project and the FOIS conference, resp.,1) offers the following Knowledge Management education and training opportunities:


  • IAOA Italy* (2009-2021)1)
  • Special Interest Groups (SIGs): Semantic Web Applied Ontology (SWAO) SIG (2015-present); Design Semantics: Ontologies, Inference, and Standards for Spatial Design (2012-2018); Ontologies and Conceptual Modelling (planned/not realized); Geospatial Ontologies and Standards (planned/not realized)
  • Technical Committees: Education Committee (IAOA Summer School Sub-committee; PhD consortium / Doctoral Colloquium / Student exchanges; Curricula, Certification & Accreditation; Textbook / Handbook; Terminology), Industry and Standards Technical Committee, Ontology registries and repositories* (realized?)


  • International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS)* (biennialy)
      The International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS), organized by the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA), is a meeting point for all researchers with an interest in formal ontology. It aims to be a nexus of interdisciplinary research and communication for researchers from many domains engaging with formal ontology. Common application areas include conceptual modeling, database design, knowledge engineering and management, software engineering, organizational modeling, artificial intelligence, robotics, computational linguistics, the life sciences, bioinformatics and scientific research in general, geographic information science, information retrieval, library and information science, as well as the Semantic Web.

      Regular co-located events:
      Joint Ontology Workshops (JOWO) (since 2016)
      Interdisciplinary Summer School on Applied Ontology (ISAO) (since 2012)
      Workshops on Modular Ontologies (WoMO)** (2010-2014)

  • Joint Ontology Workshops (JOWO) (since 2015 annually; biennialy in conjunction with FOIS)
  • Workshops on Modular Ontologies (WoMO)** (2006-2015 annually; from 2010-2014 biennialy in conjunction with FOIS)


Interdisciplinary Summer School on Applied Ontology (ISAO) (2 days biennialy; week before FOIS; in alternation with ISAO Summer Institute)

  • 5th ISAO2023 – Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
      Ontological Analysis
      Introduction to the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO)
      Logical Foundations
      Cognitive Aspects and Ontology
      Methods and Applications

      What are good applied ontology papers?

      Ontology Quizz

  • ISAO2020 – Bozen-Bolzano, Italy (CANCELLED)
  • 4th ISAO2018 – Cape Town, South Africa (w. FOIS)
      Biomedical Ontology
      Mereology, Location and Time
      Semantics and Conceptual Modelling
      Foundations of Description Logics
      Applied Mereology
      Ontology for robotics

      Invited Talks: (2)
      Titles n.a.

      Poster Session
      Ontology Quizz

  • 3rd ISAO2016 – Bozen-Bolzano, Italy
      Reasoning over Ontologies and Conceptual Models
      Geospatial Ontology
      Time and Process
      Language and Ontology

      Invited Talks:
      The Ontological Analysis of Organizations
      The Distributed Ontology Language DOL

      Poster Session
      Ontology Quizz

  • 2nd ISAO2014 – Vitoria, Brazil
      Ontological Analysis and Conceptual Modeling
      Designing and Building Enterprise Ontologies
      Formal Ontology
      Knowledge Representation in Description Logics

      Invited Talks:
      Types, Semantics and Ontology
      Process Ontologies
      An Introduction to Applied Ontology

  • 1st ISAO2012 – Trento, Italy
      Introduction to applied ontology and ontological analysis
      Introduction to first order logic for knowledge representation
      Ontology, lexicon and cognitive science
      Ontological analysis: the philosophical perspective
      Logical tools for ontological analysis
      Ontology-driven conceptual modelling

IAOA Summer Institute (biennialy, in alternation with ISAO)

  • 6th IAOA Summer Institute 2021 CANCELLED
  • 5th IAOA Summer Institute 2019, July 22-25, 2019 Utrecht, Netherlands
    Theme: Places and Things
  • 4th IAOA Summer Institute 2017, August 8-11, 2017, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Theme: Upper Ontologies
  • 3rd IAOA Summer Institute 2015, June 22-26, 2015, Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
    Theme: Spatial Ontologies for e-Science
    (part of Vespucci Institutes)
  • 2nd IAOA Summer Institute 2013, June 3-7, 2013, Fiesole, Italy
    Theme: Ontologies and models for integrated assessments of multiple-scale processes
    (part of Vespucci Institutes)
  • 1st IAOA Summer Institute 2011, July 17-23, 2011, Tuscany, Italy
    Theme: Process Ontology
    (part of Vespucci Summer Institute)

Educational Series on Applied Ontology (ESAO)

  • Sep 2023: The notion of property (9th ESAO Special Session @ FOIS, online)
  • Jun 2023: The psychology and philosophy of concept combination (8th ESAO Special Session, online)
  • May 2023: Pros and cons of DLs for applied ontologists (7th ESAO Webinar)
  • Feb 2023: Using Abduction to Explain Missing Entailments in OWL Ontologies (6th ESAO Webinar)
  • Dec 2022: From Semantic metadata to an ontology-based legal decision support system for data sharing (5th ESAO Webinar)
  • Oct 2022: O’FAIRe: Ontology FAIRness Evaluator in the AgroPortal semantic resource repository (4th ESAO Webinar)
  • Sep 2022: Where am I? Spatial knowledge in ontologies; The role of ontologies in data science in support of discovery research (3rd ESAO Webinar)
  • Jul 2022: The theory of variable embodiment and the modeling of organisational change; Applied ontologies as evolving artefacts. Why and how should you take care of managing ontology development? (2nd ESAO Webinar)
  • Nov 2021: Ontological realism: A philosophical overview; Boundaries and natural units (1st ESAO Webinar)
  • Sep 2021: ESAO Launch Day (hybrid; week before FOIS)
      Applied Ontology and Conceptual Modeling

      Conceptual schemas and ontologies for data access: myths and challenges
      Computational ontologies and their logical models
      Time and Ontology
      Events and their participants in verb semantics
      On Realizables: Roles, Dispositions, Capabilities, Functions
      Ontology Engineering

      Barcamp Session


  • IAOA Semantic Web Applied Ontology (SWAO) SIG Monthly Meetings

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