Enterprise Ontology now availableMike Uschold <email@example.com>
From: Mike Uschold <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 95 11:55:57 BST
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Subject: Enterprise Ontology now available
The Ontology from the Enterprise Project in the UK (IBM, Logica, Llyods
Register, Unilever and AIAI) has now been made publicly available.
A natural language description is available via:
Code in KIF/Ontolingua is being produced and will be released at a
At the end of this message, there is a brief summary of the main
sections, concepts and terms that comprise the Enterprise Ontology.
This announcement is being sent to a number of mailing lists; apologies
if you get it twice. If you think there are other lists where this
should be sent to, to avoid multiple postings, PLEASE TELL ME, and I
will post it there.
Mike Uschold, AI Applications Institute,
INTERNET: M.Uschold@ed.ac.uk The University of Edinburgh,
Tel: (031) 650 2732 80 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1HN
Fax: 650-6513 Scotland
ACTIVITIES and PROCESSES:
The central term is Activity. This is intended to capture the notion of
anything that involves doing, in particular including action. The concept of
Activity is closely linked with the idea of the Doer, which may be a Person,
Organisational-Unit or Machine. These terms are defined in the Organisation
section and may collectively be referred to as Actor s. The ability to be the
Doer of an Activity is denoted by Capability (or Skill if the Doer is a
Person). Actors may have other Roles in respect of an Activity such as
Also closely related to Activity is Resource, which is something used or
consumed in an Activity. An Activity can also have outputs or Effects. An
Activity is linked to a Time-Interval, which is defined in the Time section.
An Activity may be large and complex and take a long
time. This may be represented as composition of many Sub-Activity s.
An Activity can obviously have happened in the past and may be happening in the
present. The term can also be used to refer to a hypothetical future
Activity. However, there is a need to refer explicitly to specifications or
plans for Activities. This is provided by the term Activity-Spec. An
Activity-Spec specifies at some level of detail one or more possible
Activities. If the Activity-Spec has an Intended-Purpose, it is called a Plan.
The concept of repeatability of an Activity or Plan is captured in the term
Control of doing of Activities is important to enterprises. This is provided by
the Relationship Hold-Authority denoting that an Actor has the right to
perform the Activities as specified in an Activity-Spec.
Central to the Organisation section are concepts of Legal-Entity and
ORGANISATIONAL UNIT (abbreviated as OU). Both of these refer to things which
have a `gestalt' whether they are individual or composite. They differ in that
a Legal-Entity is recognised as having rights and responsibilities in the world
at large and by legal jurisdictions in particular, whereas Organisational-Unit
need only have full recognition within an organisation.
Legal-Entity includes Person and Corporation. Larger Legal-Entities may wholly
own other smaller Legal-Entities. An Organisational-Unit may be large and
complex, even transcending Legal-Entities. Large OUs will normally be seen as
being made up from smaller ones. The smallest may correspond to a single
Person, in fact a particular Person could be seen as corresponding with more
than one small OU.
A Machine is a non-human, non- Legal-Entity that may play certain Roles
otherwise played by a Person or Ou (e.g. perform an Activity).
The Ownership of rights and responsibilities may only, from the legal point of
view, lie with a Legal-Entity. Within an organisation, rights and
responsibilities for Resources may be allocated to OUs. Therefore Ownership is
defined to include this, with Legal-Ownership and Non-Legal-Ownership defined
to enable the distinction where needed. OUs may be responsible for Activities.
Within an organisation the management structure is represented by Management
Links. The term Manage represents assigning Purposes to OUs. An Organisational
Structure will be defined as a pattern of Management Links between OUs. This
can include multiple Management Links into any one OU with constraints on the
different type of Purposes assigned through each link.
The central concept of the Strategy section is Purpose. Purpose captures the
idea either of something which a PLAN can HELP ACHIEVE or that an ORGANISATION
UNIT can be responsible for. In fact it includes any kind of PURPOSE, whether
on a level of organisation and time scale which will normally be called
strategic, or detailed and short term.
Like an OU, a Purpose can be composed or decomposed. That is, one statement of
Purpose may relate to something which can also be seen to Help-Achieve some
grander Purpose. By this means, a spectrum of widely used terms like Vision,
Mission, Goal, and Objective can be represented without there being shared
agreement on precisely how these terms are used.
Strategy is defined as a Plan to Achieve a high-level Purpose.
Based on the concept of PLAN from the Activity section, the concepts key
to Strategic Planning can be represented with the
terms Decision, Assumption, Risk, and various types of Factor.
The central concept of the Marketing section is Sale. A Sale is an agreement
between two Legal-Entities for the exchange of a Product for a Sale-Price.
Normally the Product is a good or service and the Sale-Price is monetary,
however other possibilities are included. The Legal-Entities play the (usually
distinct) Roles of Vendor and Customer. A Sale can have been agreed in the
past, and a future Potential-Sale can be envisaged, whether or not
the actual Product can be identified, or even exists.
The Market is all Sales and Potential Sales within a scope of interest. The
Market may include Sales by Competitors. The Market may be decomposed into
Market Segments in many ways in many levels of detail. This can be done by any
properties of the Product, Vendor, Customer, Sale-Price or of anything else
associated with a Sale. These properties are Segmentation-Variables.
Analysis of a Market may involve understanding of Features of Products,
Needs of Customers, and Images of Brands, Products, or Vendors.
Promotions are Activities whose Purposes relate to the Image in a