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[ontolog-forum] understanding user difficulties with Description Logics

To: <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Paul Warren" <paul.w.warren@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:19:34 +0100
Message-id: <002d01d06adb$66949520$33bdbf60$@btinternet.com>

Description Logics, such as the varieties of the Web Ontology Language (OWL), are now the main languages used in the creation of ontologies.  Yet they are recognised as posing difficulties for users.  I am writing for your help with a study which seeks to identify those difficulties and to propose ways of reducing them.  I have recently undertaken face-to-face experiments with a number of people and am extending the study for wider participation.


There are four separate sections to the study, dealing with different aspects of Description Logics.  Each section has been created as a separate ‘quiz’ consisting of eight questions.  Each question consists of a set of axioms and a proposed inference.  Participants are required to indicate whether the inference is valid or non-valid.  The questions use a simplified form of Manchester OWL Syntax.  All you need to know about the OWL constructs and the syntax used is contained in a brief handout, available here (there is also a link in each of the quizzes).  Please have this handout available as you answer the questions.


Here are the links to the four quizzes, covering four different themes:

·         object properties

·         negation and quantification

·         multiple quantification, i.e. the use of two quantifiers

·         propositional logic, specifically not, and and or


Your help with this study would be greatly appreciated.  Each quiz should take between 10 and 15 minutes.  Obviously, it would be great if you could do all four.  However, if you can only do one or two, that would also be a great help.  You can, of course, do the four quizzes over a period of time.  The deadline for the study is Friday April 24th.  Everyone who has taken part so far has found the experience interesting.  All responses will be treated confidentially and only aggregated results will be published.  The intention is to compare the difficulty of the various questions, and hence the difficulty of the underlying constructs.


Many thanks


Paul Warren

Knowledge Media Institute, Open University, U.K.



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