September 2018 Seminar: Ontologies and domain modelling: a fun (honest!) and friendly introduction


At this lively meeting Helen Lippell and Silver Oliver introduced ontologies and explained how they could be used. Michael Smethurst and Anya Somerville ran an interactive practical session


Helen Lippell has run her own consultancy since 2007, working as a specialist in taxonomy, metadata, ontologies and enterprise search. She loves getting stuck into projects and working with clients to figure out how best to use the messy content and data they have. She has supported organisations such as the BBC,, Financial Times, Pearson, and Electronic Arts.
Silver Oliver has worked as an Information Architect for many years. Previously he has worked with the BBC, British Library and government. For the last 10 years he has worked at Data Language, a small consultancy specialising in semantics. His areas of expertise include all areas of information architecture but focuses primarily on the role of domain modelling in delivering design solutions.
Michael Smethurst has worked as an Information Architect for over ten years. Prior to working for the UK Parliament, he worked at the BBC and BBC R&D on a variety of projects, ranging from programmes, iPlayer, news, sport and food. Here he brought together practices from the semantic web and the domain-driven design community. He now works as a data architect for the UK Parliament using the same methods to understand and document parliamentary processes, work flows and data flows.
Anya Somerville is Head of Indexing and Data Management for the House of Commons Library, where she leads a team of information specialists. The team adds subject indexing, links and other metadata to parliamentary business data. It also manages Parliament’s controlled vocabulary. Anya and her team work closely with Michael and Silver on the domain models for parliamentary business. A pdf flyer for this meeting can be downloaded from the link Ontologies and domain modelling

Time and Venue

2pm on 20th September 2018, The British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS

Pre Event Information

What exactly is an ontology? How can we use them to better understand our information environments? Helen Lippell and Silver Oliver will be explaining all, providing examples from projects they have worked on, and giving you the chance to build your own ontology and domain model. Helen will give an accessible introduction to what ontologies are, how they are being used in a variety of different applications, how they differ from taxonomies, and how you can combine taxonomies and ontologies in models. This introduction assumes no prior knowledge of ontologies or semantic technologies.
Silver will be explaining how ontologies are used in domain modelling, demystifying some of the terminology, and providing case studies to demonstrate ontologies in practice. There will be the chance to get pens and paper out to produce and develop your own ontology and domain model, with additional help from experienced domain modellers Michael and Anya. You will learn the basic ideas around ontologies and domain modelling and see how ontologies can be used to better understand our information environments. You will begin to learn how to develop and use ontologies


Slides available.




See our blog report: Ontologies and Domain Modelling

Study Suggestions

Take a look at the Simple Knowledge Organization System Namespace Document