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Systems 2018, 6(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems6030032

Systemic Semantics: A Systems Approach to Building Ontologies and Concept Maps

1
Centre for Systems Philosophy, Surrey KTI5 1EL, UK
2
International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS), 10 Batter Lane, Rawdon, Leeds LS19 6EU, UK
3
Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull, Kingston-on-Hull HU6 7RX, UK
4
Alister Hardy Research Centre, University of Wales TSD, Lampeter SA48 7ED, UK
5
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, 1040 Vienna, Austria
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Centre for Systems Philosophy, Surrey KTI5 1EL, UK
7
Salesforce, Inc., San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
8
School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, 204 Rogers Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
9
International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), 7670 Opportunity Rd, Suite 220, San Diego, CA 92111-2222, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 24 July 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Thinking)
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Abstract

The field of systemology does not yet have a standardised terminology; there are multiple glossaries and diverse perspectives even about the meanings of fundamental terms. This situation undermines researchers’ and practitioners’ ability to communicate clearly both within and outside their own specialist communities. Our perspective is that different vocabularies can in principle be reconciled by seeking more generalised definitions that reduce, in specialised contexts, to the nuanced meaning intended in those contexts. To this end, this paper lays the groundwork for a community effort to develop an ‘Ontology of Systemology’. In particular we argue that the standard methods for ontology development can be enhanced by drawing on systems thinking principles, and show via four examples how these can be applied for both domain-specific and upper ontologies. We then use this insight to derive a systemic and systematic framework for selecting and organising the terminology of systemology. The outcome of this paper is therefore twofold: We show the value in applying a systems perspective to ontology development in any discipline, and we provide a starting outline for an Ontology of Systemology. We suggest that both outcomes could help to make systems concepts more accessible to other lines of inquiry. View Full-Text
Keywords: concept map; termbase; systems perspective; ontology of systems; worldview; frontier research concept map; termbase; systems perspective; ontology of systems; worldview; frontier research
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Rousseau, D.; Billingham, J.; Calvo-Amodio, J. Systemic Semantics: A Systems Approach to Building Ontologies and Concept Maps. Systems 2018, 6, 32.

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