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Inference Inspector: Improving the Verification of Ontology Authoring Actions

27 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2018 First Look: Accepted

See all articles by Nicolas Matentzoglu

Nicolas Matentzoglu

University of Manchester - School of Computer Science

Markel Vigo

University of Manchester

Caroline Jay

University of Manchester

Robert Stevens

University of Manchester - Department of Computer Science

Abstract

Ontologies are complex systems of axioms in which unanticipated consequences of changes are both frequent, and difficult for ontology authors to apprehend. The effects of modelling actions range from unintended inferences to outright defects such as incoherency or even inconsistency. One of the central ontology authoring activities is verifying that a particular modelling step has had the intended consequences, often with the help of reasoners. For users of Protégé, this involves, for example, exploring the inferred class hierarchy.

This paper provides evidence that making entailment set changes explicit to authors significantly improves the understanding of authoring actions regarding both correctness and speed. This is tested by means of the Inference Inspector, a Protégé plugin we created that provides authors with specific details about the effects of an authoring action. We empirically validate the effectiveness of the Inference Inspector in two studies. In a first, exploratory study we determine the feasibility of the Inference Inspector for supporting verification and isolating authoring actions. In a second, controlled study we formally evaluate the Inference Inspector and determine that making changes to key entailment sets explicit significantly improves author verification compared to the standard static hierarchy/framebased approach. We discuss the advantages of the Inference Inspector for different types of verification questions and find that our approach is best suited for verifying added restrictions where no new signature, such as class names, is introduced, with a 42% improvement in verification correctness.

Keywords: OWL, ontologies, human computer interaction, ontology engineering, ontology authoring, reasoning

Suggested Citation

Matentzoglu, Nicolas and Vigo, Markel and Jay, Caroline and Stevens, Robert, Inference Inspector: Improving the Verification of Ontology Authoring Actions (2018). Journal of Web Semantics First Look. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3199317 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3199317

Nicolas Matentzoglu (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - School of Computer Science ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Markel Vigo

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Caroline Jay

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Robert Stevens

University of Manchester - Department of Computer Science ( email )

Kilburn Building, Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9GH, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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