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A document-centric approach for developing the tolAPC Ontology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Aisha Blfgeh, Dr Jennifer Warrender, Professor Catharien Hilkens, Dr Phillip Lord


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Motivation: There are many challenges associated with ontology building, as the process often touches on many different subject areas; it needs knowledge of the problem domain, an understanding of the ontology formalism, software in use and, sometimes, an understanding of the philosophical background. In practice, it is very rare that an ontology can be completed by a single person, as they are unlikely to combine all of these skills. So people with these skills must collaborate. One solution to this is to use face-to-face meetings, but these can be expensive and timeconsuming for teams that are not co-located. Remote collaboration is possible, of course, but one difficulty here is that domain specialists use a wide-variety of different "formalisms" to represent and share their data-by the far most common, however, is the "office file" either in the form of a word-processor document or a spreadsheet. We consider here, how to use a highly-programmatic and pattern driven development to enable direct incorporation of office technology into the ontology pipeline. Specifically, we are developing an ontology of immunological cell types using spreadsheets. We also consider how this could be extended to other tools and environments. Results: We have developed a new ontology, built by instantiating ontology design patterns written programmatically, using values from a spreadsheet catalogue of cell types. The spreadsheet was developed by domain experts, is unconstrained in its usage and can be freely updated, resulting in a new ontology. This provides a general methodology for working with data generated by domain specialists. Availability: The software tool, Tawny-OWL, is available from The tolAPC ontology is currently not available.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Blfgeh A, Warrender JD, Hilkens CMU, Lord P

Editor(s): Loebe F; Boeker M; Herre H; Jansen L; Schober D

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: ODLS 2016 Ontologies and Data in Life Sciences

Year of Conference: 2016

Pages: B1-6

Online publication date: 27/09/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN: 1613-0073

Publisher: CEUR-WS


Series Title: CEUR Workshop Proceedings