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

Shubik's gravatar image

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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 former, for a list of ontology editors, you may want to check out here. Neologism is not listed and is nice and lightweight. COE seems to have a friendly enough cover-page.

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.


answered 11 Sep '10, 00:53

Signified's gravatar image

Signified ♦
accept rate: 38%

edited 11 Sep '10, 15:31

Thanks. Good point re. distinction between ontology building and instance creation.

(11 Sep '10, 20:37) Shubik Shubik's gravatar image

Actually that is not an entirely fair comment Aidan. Large parts of the bioontology community, for example, have made a commitment to a particular form of ontological realism. Here, the criterion for the inclusion of a term really is whether a class is instantiable in reality - hence the question as to whether it "exists in reality" would be entirely reasonable when trying to create an ontological class in an ontology that makes such a commitment. Higgs-Bosons, for example, would not have a place in an ontology with that particular commitment. And it is a great way to make the non-expert think

(16 Sep '10, 12:36) Nico Adams Nico%20Adams's gravatar image

I was not getting into ontological realism or anti-realism, which in any case I'm not qualified to talk about. I'm also not saying that being asked questions of verification such as "are you sure you mean...?" or "is this a real, knowable thing?" is useless for ontology creation. My point is that such a paradigm should not/cannot form the basis of ontology creation (esp. with OWA). You can't create an ontology solely on the basis of being asked the question "does this really exist?" (although such a question may be useful for abiding by ontology realism).

(16 Sep '10, 15:45) Signified ♦ Signified's gravatar image
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Asked: 10 Sep '10, 23:31

Seen: 725 times

Last updated: 11 Sep '10, 15:31