Protégé4US: Harvesting Ontology Authoring Data with Protégé

  • Markel VigoEmail author
  • Caroline Jay
  • Robert Stevens
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8798)


The inherent complexity of ontologies poses a number of cognitive and perceptual challenges for ontology authors. We investigate how users deal with the complexity of the authoring process by analysing how one of the most widespread ontology development tools (i.e. Protégé) is used. To do so, we build Protégé4US (Protégé for User Studies) by extending Protégé in order to generate log files that contain ontology authoring events. These log files not only contain data about the interaction with the environment, but also about OWL entities and axioms. We illustrate the usefulness of Protégé4US with a case study with 15 participants. The data generated from the study allows us to know more about how Protégé is used (e.g. most frequently used tabs), how well users perform (e.g. task completion times) and identify emergent authoring strategies, including moving down the class hierarchy or saving the current workspace before running the reasoner. We argue that Protégé4US is an valuable instrument to identify ontology authoring patterns.


Completion Time Authoring Strategy Authoring Process Task Completion Time Authoring Tool 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The source code of Protégé 4.3 was retrieved from

Protégé4US and the datasets generated in this study can be downloaded from

This research has been funded by the EPSRC project: WhatIf: Answering “What if...” questions for Ontology Authoring. EPSRC reference EP/J014176/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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