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[p4-feedback] owl: prefix in OWL functional syntax

Wartik, Steven P "Steve" swartik at
Fri Nov 15 11:15:09 PST 2013


The Functional Language Specification provides a grammar (section 13). That grammar includes certain tokens: Ontology, ObjectUnionOf, etc. In the proper places, these tokens are unambiguous. Suppose you write:

Class ( class-iri )

“Class” is one of a number of expected tokens, and “class-iri” is something that must be an IRI – one form for which is prefixed. So if you wanted to define OWL’s concept of an object property as a class, you would have to write:

Class ( owl:objectProperty )

which doesn’t happen to be legal. In fact, I don’t think there’s any place where you can, or would want to, use the owl prefix as an IRI. Go through the grammar and, if you find a place, let us know.


Steve Wartik

-----Original Message-----
From: p4-feedback-bounces at [mailto:p4-feedback-bounces at] On Behalf Of Tom Kramer
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 2:04 PM
To: Protege 4.x support and discussion
Subject: Re: [p4-feedback] owl: prefix in OWL functional syntax

Hello Matthew -

Thanks for your help. Based on studying the OWL 2 spec, I expect to see "owl:" in front of all the OWL terms. For example, owl:Ontology and owl:Class, rather than just Ontology and Class. The spec says the Prefix declaration for owl: may be omitted, but I do not see anything saying the prefix may be omitted from in front of OWL terms.

I have attached two versions of the pizza ontology. One I downloaded; it uses the owl: prefix several thousand times. The other I generated using Protege by reading in the first version and writing it out again in OWL functional syntax. It uses the owl: prefix twice. I do not understand by what authority it is omitted.

Tom Kramer

P.S. I looked at every use of "owl:" in the OWL 2 spec.

On 11/15/2013 12:17 PM, Matthew Horridge wrote:

> Hi Tom,


> Can you provide an example of where you expect it to be used but it isn’t?


> Cheers,


> Matthew



> On 15 Nov 2013, at 06:44, Tom Kramer <kramer at<mailto:kramer at>> wrote:


>> Hello OWL support -


>> I am trying to improve my understanding of prefixes in OWL. I am puzzled by observing that the owl: prefix is not used by Protege in functional syntax notation. I spent about an hour looking for any documentation of this and found none. I have two hypotheses:


>> 1. The owl: prefix is required in functional syntax notation but Protege does not use it (neither does the Manchester syntax converter). In fact, Protege does not allow it, except that a Prefix declaration of owl: is allowed.


>> 2. The owl: prefix is not allowed in functional syntax notation (except, possibly, that a Prefix declaration of owl: is allowed) but that is not documented.


>> Is either of these correct? If not, what is?


>> Thanks.


>> Tom Kramer


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