The scope of the IOF is quite large and there will be many ontologies needed to meet its goals. In order to facilitate a coherent and consistent development, it is expected there will be multiple “layers” of ontologies, in which ontologies in the lower layers make use of those in the upper. Such upper-layer ontologies are expected to contain terms common across manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, the various stages of the product life cycle, and various other domains that lie within the scope of the IOF’s mission. Additionally, the upper-layer ontologies will contain terms deemed to be “domain-independent”as in they are common or appear to be common across both the IOF and one or more other domains, such the financial, legal and other service industries, or in the sciences.

The roles of the IOF Core Working Group are to:

  1. Assist domain working groups in identifying and analyzing terms that are common across the two or more groups.
  2. Lead the effort to define and formalize common terms.
  3. Incorporate new terms into and manage a library of common terms, called the IOF Core Ontology1.
  4. Ensure the correct use of core terms by the domain working groups and domain ontologies.
  5. Manage the process by which common terms are identified, analyzed, formalized and incorporated into the IOF Corea joint effort involving the IOF Core Working Group, the IOF domain working groups, and the Technical Oversight Board (TOB).

Meeting Cadence: The IOF Working Group meets on a bi-weekly basis on Tuesdays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time.

Working Group Chairs: Chris Will (

Milos Drobnjakovic (

Slack Discussion Thread: WG-IOF-Core

Current IOF Core hierarchy and its alignment with BFO

Useful Links


Get Involved: If you are an IOF member and would like to join, please post a request in the working group’s Slack Channel. If you are not an IOF member, please complete a participation request to get involved.

1While the IOF Core is currently a single ontology it may well evolve into a set of ontologies that make up this “upper layer” of IOF ontologies.