When Do Developers Not Have to Talk to Stakeholders?

An ontologist can bridge1 domain expertise and software development via production of

  1. a semi-informal so-called intermediate representation2 that can be understood by domain experts, and

  2. a formal ontology / knowledge graph that represents the domain in a machine-actionable way.

When you do software development, you want to take the human out of the loop as much as possible – really automate it, least amount of manual effort, just minimize that…When I explain to [developers] that an ontology or knowledge graph [is] basically an ontologist talking to stakeholders and making sure that all the implicit knowledge they have is expressed in an explicit structural format that systems can also read…a light bulb [is] lit in their head, like “Oh…so it means we do not have to talk to stakeholders?”…Yes!…You can basically have the ontologist talk to the stakeholders and put it into a format that you just query."3

And if you switch-hit as both a domain expert and a developer, “a little semantics goes a long way” – developing competence in and discipline towards producing intermediate representations can increase your capacity to effectively collaborate/delegate and thus increase professional impact.

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  1. J. Sequeda and O. Lassila, Designing and building enterprise knowledge graphs. San Rafael: Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2021. ↩︎

  2. M. Fernández-López, A. Gómez-Pérez, and N. Juristo, “METHONTOLOGY: From Ontological Art Towards Ontological Engineering,” Stanford University, EEUU, Mar. 1997. Accessed: Aug. 03, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://oa.upm.es/5484/ ↩︎

  3. A. Faith and K. Kari, “Data Therapy & Using Ontologies To Translate Business Rules For Devs,” (Jul. 28, 2022). Accessed: Aug. 03, 2022. [Online Video]. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRUYY1pVVqI&t=238s ↩︎