Interest in the nature, development and use of ontologies is becoming increasingly widespread. Since the early nineties, numerous workshops have been held. Representatives from historically separate disciplines concerned with philosophical issues, knowledge acquisition and representation, planning, process management, database schema integration, natural language processing and enterprise modelling, came together to identify a common core of issues of interest. There was highly varied and inconsistent usage of a wide variety of terms, most notably, “ontology”, rendering cross-discipline communication difficult. However, progress was made toward understanding the commonality among the disciplines. Subsequent workshops addressed various aspects of the field, including theoretical issues, methodologies for building ontologies, as well as specific applications in government and industry.