Building DAML+OIL Ontologies

This page provides pointers to material that help you go from ontology principles to practice using DAML+OIL. It is designed to provide some answers to the common question: I want to build an ontology of x using DAML+OIL. Where do I start? This site is not intended to give a comprehensive coverage of the specification of DAML+OIL, which is covered at the main DAML+OIL website.

General Information on building ontologies

Certain principles of ontological engineering are independent of the language used to implement them.




Information on building ontologies for the web

Several courses and tutorials cover the principles of ontologies and their construction from the contrasting viewpoints of the Semantic Web and the Semantic Grid

Semantic Web Courses

Semantic Web Presentations

Semantic Web Portals

Semantic Grid Presentations

Description logic based ontologies

Description logic ontologies differ in their approach to construction. Rather than manually create a hierarchy and then assign properties to concepts, the process is turned on its head. Each concept is assigned a logic definition which is then used to derive a classification. There is more than one way to classify a set of concepts. This approach allows different classifications to be produced for different purposes based on the same underlying terminological knowledge.

Description logic based ontologies can be useful because they provide:

  1. Scalability. The reasoner can be used to maintain hierarchies and detect logical inconsistencies in concept descriptions.
  2. Extendability. Description logics provide a formal semantic grammar with which complex concepts can be built from simpler building blocks. The initial authors of the ontology now only have to provide the building blocks, and constraints on how they can be composed. Specific concepts can be formed at the point of use.
  3. Explicitness. Requiring formal concept definitions forces authors to be much more explicit and precise about their intended meaning for a concept. This can aid interpretation both by other humans and machines.

Detailed information on description logics can be found at the Description Logics Home Page.

Information on the use of description logics to support the semantic web can be found on Jeff Z. Pan's pages

Sean Bechhofer and Ian Horrocks have produced a document describing OWL as part of the WonderWeb project. This also contains a short tutorial introduction to the language.

Building DAML+OIL Ontologies to take advantage of description logic reasoning




Gene Ontology Next Generation. A DAML+OIL based project to provide a more explicit conceptualisation of the Gene Ontology.
Gene Ontology Annotation Tool. A DAML+OIL based project to provide more flexible tools to annotate bioinformatics data.
Clinical eScience Framework. Investigating the use of DAML+OIL for medical applications.
The Conceptual Open Hypermedia Service Project. The project uses a DAML+OIL based ontological reasoning service which is used to represent a sophisticated conceptual model of WWW document terms and their relationships.
Bioinformatics grid project. Uses DAML+OIL ontologies to conceptually describe services and so facilitate their discovery.

People in Manchester who are using or developing DAML+OIL.

Ian Horrocks
Primary research interest is Knowledge Representation; in particular ontologies and ontology languages, tableaux algorithms for Description Logics (DLs), optimisation techniques for such algorithms, and the application of all of the above to the Semantic Web
Robert Stevens
Working on the use of ontologies and the reconciliation of semantic heterogeneity within bioinformatics resources. Principle Investigator of the GOAT project, also involved in the GONG and myGRID projects
Sean Bechhofer
Developer of OilEd and its successors. Involved in the COHSE, OntoWeb and WonderWeb projects.
Carole Goble
Principle investigator of the myGRID project.
Alan Rector
Principle Investigator of the CLEF project.
Jeff Z. Pan
Jeff's primary research interest is Description Logics Support for the Semantic Web.
Chris Wroe
Working on GONG, GOAT and myGRID projects.
Angus Roberts
Now at Sheffield University conducting research on the use of DAML+OIL ontologies for natural language processing