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[protege-discussion] beginner questions

Jonathan Carter jonathan.carter at
Wed Nov 12 08:38:41 PST 2008

Hi Jason, I've replied in-line.


Jonathan Carter - Head of Technical Architecture
Enterprise Architecture Solutions Ltd

Assess your EA maturity at:

On 12 Nov 2008, at 16:04, Jason Sachs wrote:

> I have some really basic questions about Protege; am very excited to
> use it as it looks like a good way to organize a knowledge base that I
> was having trouble managing. (started to use Semantic Mediawiki but it
> got cumbersome, good interactive but not-so-good for programmatic
> access)
> I have setup a project called EngKB on a server using MySQL for the
> database. So far so good, I can access the project from my desktop PC.
> I'm starting off with trying to organize all the US Patent PDF files
> I've got, that seems like a simple beginner's project. Right now I
> just have a class called Patents and with slots Country (string,
> default value US) and Number (string since sometimes there are alpha
> chars).
> The Instance Browser pane shows autogenerated names like
> "engkb_Instance_0". How can I change this to be something meaningful?
> The example projects don't seem to have the autogenerated names.

The right-most button in the row at the top of the Instance browser is  
a down arrow / upside down triangle. Click this and you can select the  
"display slot". Either pick a slot from your class to use to display  
each instance, e.g. the patent number OR you can build the display  
from a pattern of multiple slots, e.g. <country>:<patent number>

I've actually created my own "name" slot in my ontology which I  
normally use for names that make sense to my users.

> The rest of my questions revolve around how to build up the patent
> ontology from the fields provided by the USPTO website & I have to
> think about that a little more....
> When you are creating slots, is there a way to make them
> domain-specific? it looks like right now for slots there is just a
> flat list... really it seems like they each (should) have context. I
> guess what I'm looking for in the long run is a way to have a
> knowledge base with several "clouds" or subdomains which are mostly
> different but could have cross-links between them, & not sure how to
> do this with ontology tools.... I suppose I could rename the "Number"
> slot to "Patent Number" or "patent:Number" (e.g. use prefixes to
> denote domain hints) but that seems kludgy.

With the Frames version, the slots are all sort of "global" in terms  
of their definition. HOWEVER, you can override how they behave in a  
particular domain (used by a class). This means that the definitions  
of slots can be re-used across classes with. In practice, I find that  
I often name my slots according to which class they will be used in -  
makes sense for my domain - and actually I almost never have the slots  
tab open. I work with the slots directly from the Class Browser tab.

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