Wordified ontologies: Evaluating a novel paradigm for ontology editing

by Aisha Blfgeh

16:30 (40 min) in USB 4.005

Ontology development is a collaborative process which involves a sustained interaction between domain specialists and ontology developers. We designed a document-centric workflow to enable the coordinated use of Microsoft Office tools (Excel and Word) for ontology development. An Excel spreadsheet is used as a source of values that instantiate patterns, defined in Tawny-OWL source code, to construct the ontology. We have also generated a Word document of an ontology; we denote this representation as a Wordified Ontology. It allows domain specialists to cooperate and interact with the developers in editing the ontology during the development process. The use of Word documents enables us to include the documentation of the ontology with the computational components.

This new technique for visualising and editing ontologies has been evaluated in several experiments where users read and manipulated the Wordified Ontology, as well as performing the same tasks using Protégé; then we assessed their performance and measured their level of satisfaction using feedback forms. The results are promising as modifying an ontology in Word was preferred by users for some ontology editing tasks. We suggest, therefore, that alternative text-based representations and office tools may be useful in the ontology engineering life cycle.