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Authoring OWL 2 ontologies with the TEX-OWL syntax

This work describes a new syntax that can be used to write OWL 2 ontologies. The syntax, which is known as TEX-OWL, was developed to address the need for an easy-to-read and easy-to-write plain text syntax. TEX-OWL is
inspired by LaTeX syntax, and covers all construct of OWL 2.
We designed TEX-OWL to be less verbose than the other OWL syntaxes, and easy-to-use especially for quickly developing small-size ontologies with just a text editor.
The important features of the syntax are discussed in this work, and a reference implementation of a Java-based parser and writer is described.

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Authoring OWL 2 ontologies with the TEX-OWL syntax

  1. 1. Authoring OWL 2 ontologies with the TEX-OWL syntax Mauro Dragoni Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), Shape and Evolve Living Knowledge Unit (SHELL) - work done in collaboration with Marco Rospocher1, Matteo Matassoni2, Paolo Bouquet2 1Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Trento 2University of Trento OWLED 2014 – Riva del Garda, Trento October, 18th 2014
  2. 2. Outline 1. The Rationale Behind 2. The Syntax and Implementation 3. Evaluation
  3. 3. The Rationale Behind  Find a way for writing ontology quickly  Using syntaxes XML-like are verbose and hard to write by hand  Avoiding the overhead of learning authoring tools functionalities and using them
  4. 4. Syntax  Why a LaTeX-like syntax?  Overcome known problems and limits based on the experience of the previous attempt  Syntax document available at  Aligned as much as possible with OWL specification
  5. 5. Syntax Example ns <> begin{ontology}[<>] % Animals form a class animal c % Plants form a class disjoint from animals animal cdisjoint plant % Trees are a type of plant tree cisa plant % Branches are parts of trees branch cisa oforall{is_part_of}{tree} % Leaves are parts of branches leaf cisa oforall{is_part_of}{branch} % Herbivores are exactly those animals that eat only plants or parts of plants herbivore ceq (animal cand oforall{eats}{(plant cor oforall{is_part_of}{plant})}) % Carnivores are exactly those animals that eat animals carnivore ceq (animal cand oexists{eats}{animal}) % Giraffes are herbivores, and they eat only leaves giraffe cisa (herbivore cand oforall{eats}{leaf}) % Lions are animals that eat only herbivores lion cisa (animal cand oforall{eats}{herbivore}) % Tasty plants are plants that are eaten both by herbivores and carnivores tasty_plant cisa candof{plant,oexists{eaten_by}{herbivore},oexists{eaten_by}{carnivore}} % eats and eaten_by are inverse of each other eaten_by oinv eats % Everything that eats is an animal eats odomain animal end{ontology}
  6. 6. Using TeXOwl in Tools  Built on top of the OWL API Library using JavaCC  Parser + Renderer  Source code available at:
  7. 7. Evaluation - 1  Evaluated the suitability, easiness, and comprehensiveness of the syntax  Two questionnaires have been designed ( • intuitiveness, conciseness, and understandability have been measured on 10 different examples • usability of the new syntax for authoring a small ontology
  8. 8. Evaluation - 2 Syntax name Intuitiveness Conciseness LaTeX-like 6.5 9.7 Manchester 6.8 2.7 Functional 4.8 5.3 Turtle 1.1 1.0 OWL/XML 1.3 0.1 RDF/XML 0.4 0.0  Average comprehensibility: 3.75 / 5.00
  9. 9. Evaluation - 3  10 axioms about the African Wildlife domain  3 questions: • How difficult was the formalization task? 3.5 • Is the syntax easy to remember? 3.17 • Compare the use of this syntax to others syntaxes that you previously used for authoring ontology 3.67
  10. 10. Next steps? Visit us at the Poster & Demo session of ISWC 2014 for testing our demo and for discussing about possible improvements!!! or try it online at: and maybe… in the future our work will be part of the OWL API Library… 
  11. 11. Mauro Dragoni