W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > June 2013

Re: SW Graphical Notation

From: Michael F Uschold <michael.uschold@semanticarts.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2013 11:51:56 -0700
Message-ID: <CADfiEMMw1XNvDbCT-zHPguNcnYprw=3t1rU7YNikGHNq9ZHx0w@mail.gmail.com>
To: Daniel Schwabe <dschwabe@inf.puc-rio.br>
CC: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfpschneider@gmail.com>, Renato Iannella <ri@semanticidentity.com>, "semantic-web@w3.org Web" <semantic-web@w3.org>, Dave McComb <Dave.mccomb@semanticarts.com>, Simon Robe <simon.robe@semanticarts.com>
I agree that it is probably too early to have a standard, we should first
have some good candidates that have been used for a while and think about
standards afterwards.

Note that there is a big difference between a graphical tool for authoring
vs. purely visualizing.  Tools for the latter normally use a lot of
automation to get good layouts and there is usually no attempt to
completely show all the axioms which are needed for authoring.  There are a
lot of tools for visualizing, but they all have major shortcomings, and
none are very adequate overall.

I am not aware of any commercial tools that are widely available and in use
for authoring OWL.   I used a tool from Cerebra some years ago, but they
were acquired by Web Methods and that tool is not available.  It may be
getting use in house.  Gary Ng was one of the developers.  Sandpiper
Software has been preparing one for a while called the Visual Ontology
Modeller, but it does not yet seem to be available for purchase on their
web site.

My colleague at Semantic Arts, Simon Robe, gave a short talk at SemTech in
S.F. a few weeks ago about *Graphically Authoring OWL Ontologies in
Microsoft Visio.*   He developed a tool we use in house for authoring OWL
enterprise ontologies for large companies.  If printed out using a plotter
and put on a wall, they would be about ten feet high and anywhere from ten
to twenty feed wide.
I have been using this tool for  the last few years and find it very
convenient.  While there are pros and cons, I have come to much prefer the
graphical authoring approach compared to using tools like Protégé or
Topbraid Composer.  So I author using our Visio plugin and use Protégé
and/or Topbraid Composer mainly for viewing and querying in SPARQL.   It is
not for sale at this time, but it freely available to our clients.

The original goal was to have a format for showing our clients their
enterprise ontologies in a way that offered much greater than epsilon
probability that they could understand what was going on without a lot of
formal training.  We have had some success with this with the more
technically oriented folk.  We have developed a variety of other techniques
for explaining and socializing enterprise ontologies that we use.  Some of
this is described in an invited talk (In the Trenches with Enterprise
Ontology <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbR8UzlF9B8>) I gave in Galway in
October 2012 at the European Knowledge Acquisition Workshop.


ABSTRACT: Graphically Authoring Ontologies in OWL
This tool supports drag-and-drop stencil-based OWL ontology development and
is intended to complement existing IDE-style ontology editors such as
Protégé. Our goal was for the diagramming notation to be sufficiently
compact and intuitive to allow the review of ontologies with subject matter
experts after only fifteen minutes of training in the conventions. The tool
has been successfully used to author and review several large and complex
enterprise ontologies. It has also proved valuable as a simple and
intuitive training tool for new ontologists. The demo will show the
creation, serialization and validation of an OWL ontology from within the
familiar Microsoft Visio environment using the e6tOWL toolset. -

On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 10:36 AM, Daniel Schwabe <dschwabe@inf.puc-rio.br>wrote:

> Dear all,
> I agree with Peter's statement. Regarding graphical notations, I would
> like to call everybody's attention to the work of Daniel Moody [1], an
> excellent work setting the foundations of why, what and how graphical
> notations can be helpful. It should certainly be taken into account if such
> a notation should be proposed, but I also agree that at the current stage
> it is still more a research problem than a standardization problem.
> [1] Daniel L. Moody: The “Physics” of Notations: Toward a Scientific Basis
> for Constructing Visual Notations in Software Engineering. IEEE Trans.
> Software Eng. 35(6): 756-779 (2009). Pdf at
> http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=05353439.
> On Jun 28, 2013, at 01:39  - 28/06/13, "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <
> pfpschneider@gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm having trouble understanding the purpose of having a common/accepted
> visual representation of an ontology.  Would this representation help in
> standardizing ontologies?  Would it help in transmitting ontologies?  Would
> tools be required to consume it?
> This is not to say that there is not a pressing need for more ontology
> visualization tools.  On the contrary, every time I look at ontologies of
> any size, I become depressed at how bad ontology visualization tools are.
>  (Of course, what I want is to see just what I need to see, arranged in
> just the way that makes it easiest for me to understand aspects of the
> ontology that I understand.)  This seems to point out a need for research,
> not standardization, however.
> Peter F. Patel-Schneider
> On Jun 27, 2013, at 8:39 PM, Renato Iannella <ri@semanticidentity.com>
> wrote:
> RDF/OWL have well-defined technical encodings (xml, turtle, etc) but there
> is no such common/accepted representation for a graphical notation.
> That is, a visual representation of an ontology that captures
> (graphically) all the semantics of RDF/OWL.
> I have collected a few examples of various graphical notations here:
> http://www.w3.org/wiki/SemWebGraphicalNotation
> Is there any interest from members of the SWIG to look at this in more
> detail, and potentially propose such graphical notation for RDF/OWL?
> (This could be via this IG or a new Community Group.)
> Cheers...
> Renato Iannella
> Semantic Identity
> http://semanticidentity.com
> Mobile: +61 4 1313 2206
> []s
> D
Received on Saturday, 29 June 2013 18:52:19 UTC

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