VOWL 2: User-Oriented Visualization of Ontologies

  • Steffen Lohmann
  • Stefan Negru
  • Florian Haag
  • Thomas Ertl
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8876)


Ontologies become increasingly important as a means to structure and organize information. This requires methods and tools that enable not only ontology experts but also other user groups to work with ontologies and related data. We have developed VOWL, a comprehensive and well-specified visual language for the user-oriented representation of ontologies, and conducted a comparative study on an initial version of VOWL. Based upon results from that study, as well as an extensive review of other ontology visualizations, we have reworked many parts of VOWL. In this paper, we present the new version VOWL 2 and describe how the initial definitions were used to systematically redefine the visual notation. Besides the novelties of the visual language, which is based on a well-defined set of graphical primitives and an abstract color scheme, we briefly describe two implementations of VOWL 2. To gather some insight into the user experience with the new version of VOWL, we have conducted a qualitative user study. We report on the study and its results, which confirmed that not only the general ideas of VOWL but also most of our enhancements for VOWL 2 can be well understood by casual ontology users.


Ontology visualization owl vowl visual language semantic web protégé prefuse d3 svg user study 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steffen Lohmann
    • 1
  • Stefan Negru
    • 2
  • Florian Haag
    • 1
  • Thomas Ertl
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS)University of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Computer ScienceAlexandru Ioan Cuza UniversityIasiRomania

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