Towards Self-explanatory Ontology Visualization with Contextual Verbalization

  • Renārs LiepiņšEmail author
  • Uldis Bojārs
  • Normunds Grūzītis
  • Kārlis Čerāns
  • Edgars Celms
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 615)


Ontologies are one of the core foundations of the Semantic Web. To participate in Semantic Web projects, domain experts need to be able to understand the ontologies involved. Visual notations can provide an overview of the ontology and help users to understand the connections among entities. However, the users first need to learn the visual notation before they can interpret it correctly. Controlled natural language representation would be readable right away and might be preferred in case of complex axioms, however, the structure of the ontology would remain less apparent. We propose to combine ontology visualizations with contextual ontology verbalizations of selected ontology (diagram) elements, displaying controlled natural language (CNL) explanations of OWL axioms corresponding to the selected visual notation elements. Thus, the domain experts will benefit from both the high-level overview provided by the graphical notation and the detailed textual explanations of particular elements in the diagram.


Owl Ontology visualization Contextual verbalization 


  1. 1.
    Bārzdiņš, J., Bārzdiņš, G., Čerāns, K., Liepiņš, R., Sprog̀is, A.: OWLGrEd: A UML-style graphical notation and editor for OWL 2. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on OWL: Experience and Directions (OWLED) (2010)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bārzdiņš, J., Bārzdiņš, G., Čerāns, K., Liepiņš, R., Sprog̀is, A.: UML style graphical notation and editor for OWL 2. In: Günther, H., Forbrig, P. (eds.) BIR 2010. LNBIP, vol. 64, pp. 102–114. Springer, Heidelberg (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Camilleri, J., Fuchs, N., Kaljurand, K.: ACE grammar library. Technical report MOLTO Project Deliverable D11.1 (2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cerans, K., Ovcinnikova, J., Liepins, R., Sprogis, A.: Advanced OWL 2.0 ontology visualization in OWLGrEd. In: 10th International Baltic Conference on Databases and Information Systems VII-Selected Papers (DB&IS), pp. 41–54 (2012)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Frederiks, P.J., Van der Weide, T.P.: Information modeling: the process and the required competencies of its participants. Data & Knowl. Eng. 58(1), 4–20 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fuchs, N.E., Kaljurand, K., Kuhn, T.: Attempto controlled English for knowledge representation. In: Baroglio, C., Bonatti, P.A., Małuszyński, J., Marchiori, M., Polleres, A., Schaffert, S. (eds.) Reasoning Web. LNCS, vol. 5224, pp. 104–124. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gruzitis, N., Barzdins, G.: Towards a more natural multilingual controlled language interface to OWL. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Computational Semantics, pp. 1006–1013 (2011)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Horridge, M., Patel-Schneider, P.F.: OWL 2 Web Ontology Language Manchester Syntax. W3C Working Group Note (2009)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Howse, J., Stapleton, G., Taylor, K., Chapman, P.: Visualizing ontologies: a case study. In: Aroyo, L., Welty, C., Alani, H., Taylor, J., Bernstein, A., Kagal, L., Noy, N., Blomqvist, E. (eds.) ISWC 2011, Part I. LNCS, vol. 7031, pp. 257–272. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kaljurand, K.:Attempto controlled English as a semantic web language. Ph.D. thesis, University of Tartu (2007)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kaljurand, K., Fuchs, N.E.: Verbalizing OWL in attempto controlled English. In: Proceedings of OWL: Experiences and Directions (OWLED) (2007)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kuhn, T.: The understandability of OWL statements in controlled English. Semant. Web 4(1), 101–115 (2013)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Liepins, R., Grasmanis, M., Bojars, U.: OWLGrEd ontology visualizer. In: ISWC Developers Workshop 2014. CEUR (2015)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lohmann, S., Negru, S., Haag, F., Ertl, T.: VOWL 2: user-oriented visualization of ontologies. In: Janowicz, K., Schlobach, S., Lambrix, P., Hyvönen, E. (eds.) EKAW 2014. LNCS, vol. 8876, pp. 266–281. Springer, Heidelberg (2014)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ottensooser, A., Fekete, A., Reijers, H.A., Mendling, J., Menictas, C.: Making sense of business process descriptions: an experimental comparison of graphical and textual notations. J. Syst. Softw. 85(3), 596–606 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Power, R., Third, A.: Expressing OWL axioms by English sentences: dubious in theory, feasible in practice. In: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Posters. pp. 1006–1013. Association for Computational Linguistics (2010)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ranta, A.: Grammatical Framework, a type-theoretical grammar formalism. J. Funct. Program. 14(2), 145–189 (2004)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Rector, A., Drummond, N., Horridge, M., Rogers, J., Knublauch, H., Stevens, R., Wang, H., Wroe, C.: OWL pizzas: practical experience of teaching OWL-DL: common errors and common patterns. In: Motta, E., Shadbolt, N.R., Stutt, A., Gibbins, A. (eds.) EKAW 2004. LNCS, pp. 63–81. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sharafi, Z., Marchetto, A., Susi, A., Antoniol, G., Guéhéneuc, Y.G.: An empirical study on the efficiency of graphical vs. textual representations in requirements comprehension. In: 21st International Conference on Program Comprehension, pp. 33–42. IEEE (2013)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Siau, K.: Informational and computational equivalence in comparing information modeling methods. J. Database Manag. 15(1), 73–86 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Stapleton, G., Howse, J., Bonnington, A., Burton, J.: A vision for diagrammatic ontology engineering. In: Visualizations and User Interfaces for Knowledge Engineering and Linked Data Analytics. CEUR (2014)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Stevens, R., Malone, J., Williams, S., Power, R., Third, A.: Automating generation of textual class definitions from OWL to English. J. Biomed. Semant. 2(S–2), S5 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Warren, P., Mulholland, P., Collins, T., Motta, E.: The usability of description logics. In: Presutti, V., d’Amato, C., Gandon, F., d’Aquin, M., Staab, S., Tordai, A. (eds.) ESWC 2014. LNCS, vol. 8465, pp. 550–564. Springer, Heidelberg (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Williams, S., Third, A., Power, R.: Levels of organisation in ontology verbalisation. In: Proceedings of the 13th European Workshop on Natural Language Generation, pp. 158–163. Association for Computational Linguistics (2011)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renārs Liepiņš
    • 1
    Email author
  • Uldis Bojārs
    • 1
  • Normunds Grūzītis
    • 1
  • Kārlis Čerāns
    • 1
  • Edgars Celms
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of LatviaRigaLatvia

Personalised recommendations