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Web Ontology Language

Web Ontology Language (commonly re-arranged, abbreviated as OWL) is the leading ontology domain categorizing and mapping language, supported by the W3C as a formal specification.

OWL is often thought to be the missing link between data and logic, the combination of which would result in knowledge on the web. For that reason, OWL seemed a fitting name as the Owl [1] is a creature that typically represents intelligence, age and wisdom; fitting for the coming of age of a technology (the web) that is designed to unite the world's data to reach a better understanding of all the planet's aspects and complexities.



ref>OWL2 Quick Reference: http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-quick-reference/</ref> [3][4] [5] [6]


SPARQL Inferencing Notation (SPIN) is a specification for structuring SPARQL queries heavily influenced development of, and is largely to be superseded by "SHACL".

[7] [8] [9] [10] [11]


Shapes Constraint Language (SHACL) aims to provide a simple language & semantics for formulating structural constraints on "RDF graphs".

[12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]


The following examples demonstrate the basics of the OWL language.



Recommendation Ontology


Device Ontology



The exponential growth of the world wide web is often not attributed to the readability of its core presentation language (in fact it took several years before a large enough percentage of academia accepted and understood HTML as a markup language, and eventually the general public had a rough idea of how link and the most common HTML elements worked).

On the contrary, the success of the web, on the back of its core markup language HTML, is largely attributed to the wide availability of comprehensive editors and publishing tools for creating HTML without actually writing or coding in HTML. For several years, the major criticism of OWL was that it lacked such simple editing intrefaces which were both easy to use, but also afforded the author comprehensive use of the language.


Protege is a free and open ontology editor and knowledge-base framework.



OntoStudio and OntoBroker are two desktop applications from Ontoprise GmbH.

TopBraid Composer


Validators are important for checking that a given document or markup adheres to the standards and specifications for that language. Owl has the following validators available for basic type/syntax checking:

Triple Stores



Reasoners are in the Logic stage of the Semantic Web stack.



External Links


  1. wikipedia:Owl
  2. Differences, OWL 1 & 2: http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-overview/#Relationship_to_OWL_1
  3. OWL 2 Web Ontology LanguageRDF-Based Semantics: http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-rdf-based-semantics/ (sameAs, distinctMember, etc)
  4. Owl2 Primer: http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-primer/
  5. OWL - Mapping to RDF: http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-mapping-to-rdf/
  6. OWL new features: http://www.w3.org/TR/owl-new-features/
  7. W3C -- SPIN - Overview and Motivation: https://www.w3.org/Submission/spin-overview/
  8. SPIN Standard Modules Library: https://spinrdf.org/spl.html
  9. An approach to enabling RDF data in querying to invoke REST API for complex calculating: https://dcpapers.dublincore.org/pubs/article/viewFile/3963/2161.pdf
  10. Using SPARQL and SPIN for Data Quality Management on the Semantic Web: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-12814-1_4
  11. TopQuadrant -- SPIN support: https://www.topquadrant.com/technology/sparql-rules-spin/
  12. wikipedia: SHACL
  13. Meet SHACL, the Next OWL: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/meet-shacl-next-owl-kurt-cagle/
  14. SHACL & OWL Compared: https://spinrdf.org/shacl-and-owl.html
  15. From SPIN to SHACL: https://spinrdf.org/spin-shacl.html
  16. What’s exciting about SHACL - RDF Data Shapes: https://www.semanticarts.com/whats-exciting-about-shacl-rdf-data-shapes/
  17. SHACL JavaScript Extensions: https://www.w3.org/TR/shacl-js/
  18. SHACL Advanced Features: https://www.w3.org/TR/shacl-af/
  19. OntoText -- GraphDB - SHACL Validation: https://graphdb.ontotext.com/documentation/free/shacl-validation.html
  20. TopQuadrant -- GraphQL/SHACL support - Query knowledge graphs: https://www.topquadrant.com/technology/graphql/
  21. Recommendation Ontology spec: http://smiy.sourceforge.net/rec/spec/recommendationontology.html
  22. The Recommendation Ontology: http://smiy.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/the-recommendation-ontology/
  23. You need it, you want it, you get it ;) - The Recommendation Ontology: http://www.pubbs.net/201007/web/56434-you-need-it-you-want-it-you-get-it-the-recommendation-ontology.html
  24. SEEVL v2 is out: http://apassant.net/2012/06/05/seevl-v2-is-out/
  25. Music Discovery, A Journey With seevl: The Liner Notes: http://seevl.net/blog/2013/03/29/music-discovery-seevl-liner-notes/
  26. Ontology Online: http://ontologyonline.org/

See Also

Semantic Web | RDF | RDFS | n3