The difference between ontologies and data models does not lie in the language being used: you can define an ontology in a basic ER language (although you will be hampered in what you can say); similarly, you can write a data model with OWL. Writing something in OWL does not make it an ontology! The key difference is not the language the intended use. A data model is a model of the information in some restricted well-delimited application domain, whereas an ontology is intended to provide a set of shared concepts for multiple users and applications. To put it simply: data models live in a relatively small closed world; ontologies are meant for an open, distributed world (hence their importance for the Web).

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A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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