Blog Post

Data Harmonization for Systems Change Utilizing Ontologies for Cross Sector Impact (webinar recording)

This June 2024 HelpSeeker webinar introduces their ontology focused on bridging communication across funders, service providers, and stakeholders, ensuring data collected at the client-service interaction level is effectively aggregated to assess broader systems impacts.

Like me, you may have needed to understand what an ontology is. From the presentation:

  • Definition - An ontology is a formal representation of knowledge within a domain, providing a common vocabulary and specifying meaning and relationships.
  • Purpose - Ontologies facilitate effective communication and data integration by establishing a shared understanding of concepts, properties, and relationships within a specific domain.
  • 3 Key Aspects - Ontologies consist of classes, properties, relationships, instances, and axioms, enabling the representation of complex knowledge structures.

How does an Ontology differ from a Taxonomy?

"A taxonomy is a hierarchical classification based on common characteristics, providing a simple structure for organizing information.

An ontology, on the other hand, represents rich semantic relationships, properties, and axioms for comprehensive knowledge representation. It offers greater flexibility and expressiveness compared to a taxonomy."

Presentation flow:

  • Introduction to Data Ontologies: Explore how data ontologies enable standardized data collection across different systems and stakeholders, facilitating meaningful dialogue and comparison.
  • Data Alignment Across Sectors: Learn the critical role of data alignment in providing a holistic view of systems' performance, identifying gaps, and understanding the intertwined nature of social challenges.
  • Lifecycle of Data with Intent: Delve into the data lifecycle, from collection to utilization, focusing on the importance of beginning with the right intent—structuring data to reflect and address the larger picture of systemic change.
  • Impact Analysis and Reporting: Discover methods to aggregate and analyze data to demonstrate impact, communicate findings effectively to diverse audiences, and influence decision-making.
  • Engagement and Feedback Mechanisms: Understand how to engage various stakeholders and create feedback loops that refine data-driven processes, enhancing outcomes and revealing system-wide gaps.

Presentation slides:

Related research:

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