The annual Bio-Ontologies Meeting has been operating for eight years; during this time, it has stimulated discussion about the role of ontologies and their associated technologies for structuring, sharing, analysing, and searching knowledge about biological systems. The format varies; usually, it has a mixture of talks and structured discussions such as panel sessions. It regularly draws a hundred participants, showing a consistently high interest across the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) community.
The meetings were initially characterised by evangelism for the use of ontoloiges and by arguments about the nature of ontology and which representation was best. Now the debate centres on how to use and how to improve new ontologies.