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Educational Series on Applied Ontology (ESAO)

IAOA is currently setting up a new educational effort under the name Educational Series on Applied Ontology (ESAO) that shall be suited for learning about topics of Applied Ontology, primarily established basics and foundations. The series is inspired by the Interdisciplinary Schools on Applied Ontology (ISAO), but - in times of the Corona pandemic - it is complementary in format and its overall approach.

ESAO is being planned as a long-term effort. It was prominently started with a launch event in hybrid format on Sep 10, 2021 (Fri), preceding FOIS 2021 (Sep 13-16) in Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. Likewise the ESAO Launch Day was part of the second Bolzano Summer of Knowledge (BoSK 2021).

Key Idea

The key idea of ESAO is a combination of (1) an archive of educational material and (2) a webinar series for presentation and exchange on that material.

For (1), we aim at creating an archive of short (10-20 min), self-contained units of educational material (videos, web-, screen- and podcasts, a.o.) that is available to be streamed on demand. Any such unit can originate from recording a live session, but likewise it can be produced in any other suitable way. The purpose is the material as such and making it accessible.

Concerning (2), an accompanying webinar series shall present the material and allow for personal interaction about its topics in a variety of formats, e.g. as live presentation with subsequent discussion, as question and answer sessions or panel discussions on a few units together for further digestion (then expected to have been “consumed” already), as well as further formats may be proposed.

We look forward to everyone interested and invite you to join the webinars!

2nd ESAO Webinar on Jul 19, 2022

July 2022 brings about the second of the regular webinar sessions.

When and how to connect


  • 10:00 EDT / 16:00 CEST
Roberta Ferrario,   Institute for Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the CNR (ISTC-CNR), Laboratory for Applied Ontology (LOA), Trento, Italy
The theory of variable embodiment and the modeling of organisational change
Abstract: How can organisations survive not only the substitution of members, but also other dramatic changes, like that of the norms regulating their activities, the goals they plan to achieve, or the system of roles that compose them? These are some of the classical questions an ontology of organisations should be able to answer. I will briefly present Kit Fine’s notions of rigid and variable embodiment and propose an integration aimed at addressing the issue of re-identification of organisations through change.
  • 10:30 EDT / 16:30 CEST
Paweł Garbacz,   John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
Applied ontologies as evolving artefacts. Why and how should you take care of managing ontology development?
Abstract: If you think of an applied ontology as a dynamic informational artefact that is being developed over time, then you might want to consider a framework which would allow you to track the history of its lifecycle, test the changes it undergoes, and control its quality. These challenges are similar to challenges faced in bog-standard software development. In my presentation, I will show how the well-known software tools, including Continuous Integration platforms, version control systems, testing platforms, and review workflows, may address these challenges.

1st ESAO Webinar on Nov 9, 2021

After the ESAO Launch Day, the first of the regular webinar sessions is held on November 9th.


  • 11:00 EST / 17:00 CET
Adrien Barton,   Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT) - CNRS, France
Ontological realism: A philosophical overview
Abstract: Some applied ontologies explicitly adhere to a position named “ontological realism”. In this presentation, I will locate “ontological realism” within the landscape of the various forms of realism that have been proposed in metaphysics and philosophy of science, among which there are Platonic realism, Aristotelian realism, scientific realism, entity realism and structural realism.
Slides: PDF (ca. 3.3 MB) [tentative link]
  • 11:30 EST / 17:30 CET
Lars Vogt,   Leibniz Information Center for Science & Technology (TIB), Germany
Boundaries and natural units
Abstract: I will present the concept of bona fide and fiat boundaries and review the problems involved with this approach for demarcating natural units, with examples from the life sciences, focussing on issues revolving around granularity and frames of reference. I will then introduce an alternative approach that focusses on the concept of causal unity.
Slides: PDF (ca. 6.3 MB) [tentative link]


  • mini survey: Google Form (4 questions)     open until Wed, Nov 10 (anywhere)

ESAO Launch Day on Sep 10, 2021

The new series was launched with an agglomeration of webinar sessions, most of which demonstrate the intended format of short tutorials followed by discussion. This was bordered by a short introduction and a bar camp session at the end.

While information on the Launch Day will be archived in this wiki at a later point, for the time being there is an ESAO Launch Day website that offers detailed information at the state of Sep 10, 2021. If you are interested, please move on to

As of November 2021, we continue to work on archiving the Launch Day sessions and making them accessible through this wiki. Please stay tuned and return here in a few weeks.