This is a fairly interesting about the maturing use of ontologies.
"Large ontologies are essential components in many online applications including search (such as Yahoo and Lycos), e-commerce (such as Amazon and eBay), configuration (such as Dell and PC-Order), etc."
"One of the simplest notions of a possible ontology may be a controlled vocabulary – i.e., a finite list of terms. Catalogs are an example of this category. Catalogs can provide an unambiguous interpretation of terms – for example, every use of a term, say car – will denote exactly the same identifier – say 25. "
"The next point includes frames. Here classes include property information. For example, the “Apparel” class may include properties of “price” and “isMadeFrom”. My specific dress may have a price of $100 and may be made from cotton."
Also lists 7 uses of simple ontologies/taxonomies and 8 uses of structured ontologies. Things like consistency checking, disambiguation, site organisation, comparative searching, etc.
This is yet another primer for the sematic web and ontologies.
"As with a conventional CMS, we tag the content elements with metadata that describes the element type, like headline, body text, and publication date. We also need to tag the content with metadata that describes what the content is, like product description, white paper, support document, or retailer. In addition, the system must know how these components relate to each other."
"You can see we begin to describe not just content but concepts, ideas about what is in an organization and how those concepts relate to each other. The goal behind this kind of model is to represent our understanding of the organization and to document it in a way that will eventually become readable by the CMS."
"The model described above - the concepts, relationships, plus some additional information - is called an ontology."