Simplified OWL Ontology Editing: Is WebProtégé Enough?

author: Matthew Horridge, School of Medicine, Stanford University
published: Nov. 28, 2013,   recorded: October 2013,   views: 11138


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Ontology engineering is a task that is notorious for its difficulty. As the group that developed Protégé, the most widely used ontology editor, we are keenly aware of how difficult the users perceive this task to be. In this paper, we present the new version of WebProtégé that we designed with two main goals in mind: (1) create a tool that will be easy to use while still accounting for commonly used OWL constructs; (2) support collaboration and social interaction around distributed ontology editing as part of the core tool design. We designed this new version of the WebProtégé user interface empirically, by analysing the use of OWL constructs in a large corpus of publicly available ontologies. Since the beta release of this new WebProtégé interface in January 2013, our users from around the world have created and uploaded 519 ontologies on our server. In this paper, we describe the key features of the new tool and our empirical design approach. We evaluate language coverage in WebProtégé by assessing how well it covers the OWL constructs that are present in ontologies that users have uploaded to WebProtégé. We evaluate the usability of WebProtégé through a usability survey. Our analysis validates our empirical design, suggests additional language constructors to explore, and demonstrates that an easy-to-use web-based tool that covers most of the frequently used OWL constructs is sufficient for many users to start editing their ontologies.

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