I am looking for information re. user interfaces for building ontologies by non-sem web specialists. Is there a proven wizard type of UI that would ask questions e.g. "does this thing exist in real world?", "what is this thing made of?", "how much does it cost?" etc.
asked 10 Sep '10, 23:31
Hmm... how many questions would you like to be asked? Does this thing have legs? Does it shop on Saturdays? Is it repulsed by the colour green? Can it heat a bagle so hot that not even it can eat it? Is it the first number not nameable in under eleven words? Ah, so it's a swallow: what is its average unladen air velocity?
Don't see how such a wizard (as you word it) would be feasible... You also seem to be conflating ontology creation and instance creation (some would prefer that no such distinction exists, but that's a different matter). Do you want to describe classes of things and the relationships between them (e.g., a notion of a Vehicle/Car), or instances of those classes with attributes and relations to other instances (e.g., my aunty Mary owns a '97 Ford Fiesta)?
If the latter, you may want to read up on the Open World Assumption—the notion of a strict schema or complete knowledge about something doesn't apply in RDF(S)/OWL. Although a system could suggest some targeted questions to describe your aunty's car, these would never suffice... It might, for example, take the system a while to come round to "does your aunty's car have fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror". As for systems that ask targeted questions to populate seed instances of an ontology, I don't know of any generic such system... Domain specific engines do exist: for example, Leigh's FOAF-a-matic to seed a FOAF profile.