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NSF Accounting Ontology

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August 17, 2009, The report is ready for review comments. Please post your comments at this page.

Background

In the spring of 2008, we are at a critical juncture in the definition of scientific methods for creating financial ontologies and for specifying methodologies for data aggregation and view materialization with the components of those ontologies. There has clearly been a strong movement within governments in Europe, the USA, and Japan toward requiring increased formalization and standardization as a uniform registration and reporting format for regulatory use. We observe a wide variety of implementation approaches, even within a common overarching standard such as XBRL. Many of these implementations significantly hinder interoperability and may be of questionable theoretical and practical validity. See Original Description and see recent presentation to the Ontolog Forum on June 5, 2008 (conference call, audio recording/podcast, and slides).

Purpose

The purpose of the NSF workshop is to initiate a well-designed program of study for financial interoperability with both business and computer science methods. We will begin with an overview of methods and rationale from the important reference fields of ontology specification. We will then proceed to detailed reviews of two case studies:

  • (1) the United Nations CEFACT suite of business process modeling methods as augmented by the ISO Open-edi specifications (the technical specifications for the UN-CEFACT modeling methodology with its various modules) as a financial transaction standard, and
  • (2) XBRL as a business performance and financial reporting standard (with its various taxonomies).

The workshop deliverables will center on a report written by the two primary organizers (McCarthy and Debreceny) within 60 days of the workshop's conclusion. This report will chart future ontological specification and data aggregation research goals for this burgeoning community. The ultimate research agenda for the workshop will be to evaluate the theoretical and ontological possibilities for integration of the data and information management needs of this financial segment of the World Wide Web with other segments. Getting the economic and financial transaction data semantics correctly specified is especially important for interoperability, because somewhere in the neighborhood of 60-70 percent of the data that flows in and out of enterprise systems across the Web is economic in nature, dealing with the past, present, and future flows of goods, services, rights, and money. 

Participants in the workshop come from the following communities:

  • The United Nations Trade Facilitation Group (UN/CEFACT)
  • The government reporting community
  • XBRL International
  • Information systems and accounting academia
  • The practicing Ontology community  

Structure and Interface

Topic Purpose Person Responsible (initially)
Blog  Weblog: Keep Track of what's been done Brand Niemann 
Emails  Convert to Web 2.0 Wiki Brand Niemann
Discussions  Convert to Web 2.0 Wiki (for posting and responding to comments) Individual Authors
Workshop  Convert to Web 2.0 Wiki Brand Niemann
Web Sites  Convert to Web 2.0 Wiki Brand Niemann
Documents  Convert to Web 2.0 Wiki or Attach to Wiki Pages Bill McCarthy 
Participants  Convert to Web 2.0 Wiki               Roger Debreceny
Other

Also see June 12-13, 2007, Workshop on Nanoinformatics, Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel, Aleandria, VA. Sponsored by the National Nanotechnology Initiative and National Nanomanufacturing Network Through a Grant from NSF.

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BNiemann05132008.ppt Preview
Tutorial with 14 Steps for Setting Up the NSF Accounting Ontology Web 2.0 Wiki by Brand Niemann, May 13, 2008, and Updated May 19, 2008.
3.64 MB22:53, 19 May 2008AdminActions
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