OWL Simplified English: a finite-state language for ontology editing

Power, Richard (2012). OWL Simplified English: a finite-state language for ontology editing. In: Third International Workshop on Controlled Natural Language (CNL 2012), 29-31 Aug 2012, Zurich, Switzerland.

URL: http://attempto.ifi.uzh.ch/site/cnl2012/


We describe a controlled fragment of English for editing ontologies in OWL. Although this language substantially overlaps other CNLs that have been proposed for this purpose, it has a number of special features designed to simplify its learning and use. First, the language allows users to start typing in sentences with little or no preliminary effort in building a controlled vocabulary or lexicon. Second, it disallows sentences that people interpret as structurally ambiguous. Third, it employs a finite-state grammar, so facilitating fast and reliable implementation of an editing tool. These advantages are gained at the cost of severe restrictions in coverage, which mean that the majority of potential OWL axioms cannot be expressed. However, analysis of axiom patterns from several ontology repositories suggests that these constraints are almost invariably respected by ontology developers, so that in practice the loss of expressivity is rarely noticeable.

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