An ontology defines a common vocabulary for researchers who need to share information in a domain. It includes machine-interpretable definitions of basic concepts in the domain and relations among them.Noy & McGuiness

Read more about ontologies in this quick background for health surveillance, or this detailed ontology manual.

Two Introductory videos have been prepared for those wanting to get involved in Ontology development:
1) Basics of ontologies and knowledge models (WATCH HERE)
2) The use of ontologies in health surveillance (WATCH HERE)

Read more about ORION, an European funded project that promotes one health surveillance data harmonisation.
In particular, ORION's WP3 is focused on promoting data interoperability, and on the use of ontologies to support the practice of surveillance.

Two complementary ontologies are being developed to support data (re)use in health surveillance:
- the ANIMAL HEALTH ONTOLOGY (AHO) models the structure of the animal population, as well a concepts related to health, such as diseases and clinical signs.
- the HEALTH SURVEILLANCE ONTOLOGY (HSO) focuses on the data generated as part of surveillance processes, and used for decision making within surveillance.

Both ontologies are publicly available in the BioPortal, and on GitHub, where you can see and contribute to codes.

More detailed information about them can be found in their individual pages linked above, and also available through the main menu.

You can always contact us at ontology@datadrivensurveillance.org.