Finding Fault: Detecting Issues in a Versioned Ontology

  • Maria Copeland
  • Rafael S. Gonçalves
  • Bijan Parsia
  • Uli Sattler
  • Robert Stevens
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7955)


Understanding ontology evolution is becoming an active topic of interest for ontology engineers, e.g., there exist large collaboratively-developed ontologies but, unlike in software engineering, comparatively little is understood about the dynamics of historical changes, especially at a fine level of granularity. Only recently has there been a systematic analysis of changes across ontology versions, but still at a coarse-grained level. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Thesaurus (NCIt) is a large, collaboratively-developed ontology, used for various Web and research-related purposes, e.g., as a medical research controlled vocabulary. The NCI has published ten years worth of monthly versions of the NCIt as Web Ontology Language (OWL) documents, and has also published reports on the content of, development methodology for, and applications of the NCIt. In this paper, we carry out a fine-grained analysis of asserted axiom dynamics throughout the evolution of the NCIt from 2003 to 2012. From this, we are able to identify axiomatic editing patterns that suggest significant regression editing events in the development history of the NCIt.


Editing Event Content Regression Ontology Engineer Editing Pattern Detect Issue 
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.


  1. 1.
    Gonçalves, R.S., Parsia, B., Sattler, U.: Analysing the evolution of the NCI thesaurus. In: Proc. of CBMS 2011 (2011)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gonçalves, R.S., Parsia, B., Sattler, U.: Analysing multiple versions of an ontology: A study of the NCI Thesaurus. In: Proc. of DL 2011 (2011)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Cuenca Grau, B., Horrocks, I., Motik, B., Parsia, B., Patel-Schneider, P.F., Sattler, U.: OWL 2: The next step for OWL. J. of Web Semantics (2008)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gonçalves, R.S., Parsia, B., Sattler, U.: Categorising logical differences between OWL ontologies. In: Proc. of CIKM 2011 (2011)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    de Coronado, S., Haber, M.W., Sioutos, N., Tuttle, M.S., Wright, L.W.: NCI Thesaurus: Using science-based terminology to integrate cancer research results. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 107(1) (2004)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hartel, F.W., de Coronado, S., Dionne, R., Fragoso, G., Golbeck, J.: Modeling a description logic vocabulary for cancer research. J. of Biomedical Informatics 38(2), 114–129 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Thomas, N.: NCI Thesaurus - Apelon TDE Editing Procedures and Style Guide. National Cancer Institute (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Noy, N.F., de Coronado, S., Solbrig, H., Fragoso, G., Hartel, F.W., Musen, M.A.: Representing the NCI Thesaurus in OWL: Modeling tools help modeling languages. Applied Ontology 3(3), 173–190 (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Horridge, M., Bechhofer, S.: The OWL API: A Java API for working with OWL 2 ontologies. In: Proc. of OWLED 2009 (2009)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sirin, E., Parsia, B., Cuenca Grau, B., Kalyanpur, A., Katz, Y.: Pellet: A practical OWL-DL reasoner. J. of Web Semantics 5(2), 51–53 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    de Coronado, S., Wright, L.W., Fragoso, G., Haber, M.W., Hahn-Dantona, E.A., Hartel, F.W., Quan, S.L., Safran, T., Thomas, N., Whiteman, L.: The NCI Thesaurus quality assurance life cycle. Journal of Biomedical Informatics 42(3) (2009)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Copeland
    • 1
  • Rafael S. Gonçalves
    • 1
  • Bijan Parsia
    • 1
  • Uli Sattler
    • 1
  • Robert Stevens
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations