The Usability of Description Logics

Understanding the Cognitive Difficulties Presented by Description Logics
  • Paul Warren
  • Paul Mulholland
  • Trevor Collins
  • Enrico Motta
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8465)


Description Logics have been extensively studied from the viewpoint of decidability and computational tractability. Less attention has been given to their usability and the cognitive difficulties they present, in particular for those who are not specialists in logic. This paper reports on a study into the difficulties associated with the most commonly used Description Logic features. Psychological theories are used to take account of these. Whilst most of the features presented no difficulty to participants, the comprehension of some was affected by commonly occurring misconceptions. The paper proposes explanations and remedies for some of these difficulties. In addition, the time to confirm stated inferences was found to depend both on the maximum complexity of the relations involved and the number of steps in the argument.




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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Warren
    • 1
  • Paul Mulholland
    • 1
  • Trevor Collins
    • 1
  • Enrico Motta
    • 1
  1. 1.Knowledge Media InstituteThe Open UniversityBuckinghamshireU.K.

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