How Owl Imports Work

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Revision as of 16:45, April 27, 2008 by Tredmond (talk | contribs) (Names of Ontologies)

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OWL Imports

First it must be understood that the semantics of imports in OWL is a subject of some controversy. In the OWL 1.1 specification there is effort in progress to clear up some of this confusion. Until this is settled we will use the definition of the semantics of imports given in the semantics document of the specs:

Aside from this local meaning, an owl:imports annotation also imports the contents of another OWL ontology into the current ontology. The imported ontology is the one, if any, that has as name the argument of the imports construct. (This treatment of imports is divorced from Web issues. The intended use of names for OWL ontologies is to make the name be the location of the ontology on the Web, but this is outside of this formal treatment.)

In this note we will describe what this innocent little paragraph is saying and what it means to Protege.

Names of Ontologies

All owl ontologies have a name. Unfortunately the way that this name is calculated (at least for the RDF/XML OWL syntax) is not well specified. Even so - in most cases it can be calculated in an unambiguous way. In most RDF/XML ontologies there is a single RDF resource that is declared to be of type owl:Ontology. So for instance in the pizza owl ontology, the declaration in question is the following:

 <owl:Ontology rdf:about="">
   <protege:defaultLanguage rdf:datatype=""
   <owl:versionInfo rdf:datatype=""
   >version 1.3</owl:versionInfo>
   <rdfs:comment xml:lang="en">An example ontology that contains all constructs required for the various versions of the Pizza Tutorial run by Manchester University (see</rdfs:comment>
   <owl:imports rdf:resource=""/>

The first line of this declaration defines an RDF resource of type owl:Ontology. The name of this resource is given by the rdf:about statement. In this case the rdf:about string is empty which means that the

Import By Name

What Can Go Wrong

Ontology Not Found

Ontology Found Has The Wrong Name