The 12th International Semantic Web Conference
and the 1st Australasian Semantic Web Conference
21-25 October 2013, Sydney, Australia

Modelling Ontologies Visually

Tutorial webpage


  • John Howse (University of Brighton)
  • Gem Stapleton (University of Brighton)
  • Aidan Delaney (University of Brighton)
  • Jim Burton (University of Brighton)
  • Peter Chapman (University of Brighton)


Ontology engineering has acknowledged benefits yet the notations with which one can create such models can require considerable technical expertise. There has been interest in the development of visual (i.e. diagrammatic) notations that are more readily accessible to those without substantial mathematical training. This tutorial will demonstrate a formal visual logic, called concept diagrams, suitable for ontology engineering. The notation has been designed with regard to cognitive theories combined with an emphasis on being sufficiently expressive to model rich domains. The tutorial introduces concept diagrams and attendees will gain knowledge of how to apply concept diagrams for ontology engineering.

Monday - Oct 21 - SMC


Modelling Ontologies Visually


12:45 - 13:45 Lunch
13:45 - 15:30

• Modelling in Practice: to enable attendees to understand and create formal models of ontologies using concept diagrams. The tutorial will begin with an introduction to concept diagrams by way of presenting some simple case studies. Simple exercises will be included for attendees to attempt. [1 hour]

• Patterns for Ontology Engineering: to enable attendees to define commonly occurring constraints on ontologies using a systematic approach. Using the examples from the first component, the tutorial will cover diagrammatic patterns that can be used for commonly occurring forms of axioms (such as defining the domain and range of a property). This will form a major component of the tutorial and include many exercises for attendees to attempt. [45 mins]

15:30 - 16:00 Afternoon Tea
16:00 - 17:30

• Model Effectiveness and Reasoning: to provide attendees with an understanding of how concept diagrams can be used to best effect. The emphasis will be on reasoning to merge patterns in order to present information more succinctly and effectively. This will include the presentation of pattern merging rules (sound inference rules) that have been designed to be intuitive. That is, we will explore syntactically different ways of presenting information, drawing out the relative strengths of each approach. Attendees will be given the opportunity to attempt some merging (reasoning) tasks in order to aid their understanding of this part of the tutorial. Time permitting, this part of the tutorial will demonstrate these features and show how they can influence the diagram chosen to make certain kinds of statements. [30 mins]

• Ontology Engineering: to allow attendees to draw together the material covered by producing a simple diagrammatically specified ontology. In addition to the exercises interspersed within the first three parts, this final component of the tutorial will allow attendees to work in small groups or individually, converting a simple, textually specified, domain into an ontology specified using concept diagrams. [1 hour]

Preliminary material that attendees may like to review before attending the tutorial is available from