Bruno L. Giordano, Ricardo de Miranda Azevedo, Yenisel Plasencia-Calaña, Elia Formisano, and Michel Dumontier.
Taxonomies and ontologies for the characterization of everyday sounds have been developed in several research fields, including auditory cognition, soundscape research, artificial hearing, sound design, and medicine. Here, we surveyed 36 of such knowledge organization systems, which we identified through a systematic literature search. To evaluate the semantic domains covered by these systems within a homogeneous framework, we introduced a comprehensive set of verbal sound descriptors (sound source properties; attributes of sensation; sound signal descriptors; onomatopoeias; music genres), which we used to manually label the surveyed descriptor classes. We reveal that most taxonomies and ontologies were developed to characterize higher-level semantic relations between sound sources in terms of the sound-generating objects and actions involved (what/how), or in terms of the environmental context (where). This indicates the current lack of a comprehensive ontology of everyday sounds that covers simultaneously all semantic aspects of the relation between sounds. Such an ontology may have a wide range of applications and purposes, ranging from extending our scientific knowledge of auditory processes in the real world, to developing artificial hearing systems.