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1Feb/100

Taxonomy and Ontology in Systems Architecture

Taxonomy and ontology are bread and butter of every software system architecture. And yet the very people practicing it barely can agree upon what they actually mean!

Some think these concepts to be interchangeable; some (myself included) think  that taxonomy is but a classification (usually in a parent-child hierarchical relationship, e.g. Linnaen classification) , a component of ontology which deals with domain definition and more complex semantic relationships within.

And then I come across a definition of Architectural Taxonomy: "A methodology for organizing and categorizing of architectural artifacts" quoted in Roger Sessions' book Simple Architectures for Complex Enterprises (from Carnegie Mellon University collection of definitions).

Unless they mean Architectural Ontology, I fail to see how a simple hierarchical classification can account for non-linear and non-hierarchical relationships of various architectural artifacts, not to mention their dynamics...