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[protege-discussion] Web-Protege Implementation

Tania Tudorache tudorache at
Thu May 27 17:33:11 PDT 2010

Hi Peter,

Everything seems fine with your WebProtege installation. Deploying the 
default WebProtege is simple, but usually you want to customize it for 
your own project, and for this it would be good to have some knowledge 
on how to use the rich client Protege. There are some limited features 
available in the web interface for project and user administration, so 
some of the configurations you need to do in the Protege rich client.

To add your own project to the metaproject, you need access to the 
metaproject file: metaproject.ppj, metaproject.pins and metaproject.pont 
(which it seems you have). Download them to your computer. Then, open 
the metaproject.pprj in the Protege rich client, and add a new Instance 
of Project that corresponds to the project you want to edit. The 
metaproject is used for the configuration of WebProtege: what projects 
should be available, user groups, access permissions, etc. It is kind of 
the administrative application for WebProtege. We have documentation on 
the wiki on how to edit the metaproject (Add your own project, create 
user groups, etc.) [1]

When you create the new project instance in the metaproject, you need to 
specify its location on the server. You can talk to your IT people, to 
see where you can store the project. One idea is to store it in the 
projects directory of WebProtege, just like the example projects. 
Ideally, you should store the project in a database backend, so that if 
there is some crash, your data is still safe. We have documentation on 
how to store a project in database format on the wiki [2,3].

Then, you need to decide who has write permission on your project. You 
can create a group in the metaproject (e.g. "MyGroup"), and only give to 
MyGroup write permission to your project instance (as described in [1]). 
You can also make the default group of a user to be your group. Go to 
the Classes Tab in the metaproject, edit the template slot "group" by 
double clicking on it, and select "View slot at class", and add in the 
Default values "MyGroup".

Then, you can create a group called "CreateUsersGroup", and create an 
operation "CreateUsers", and give your group the "CreateUsers" 
permission on the server instance. Make sure that you add your user to 
the CreateUsersGroup. Then, in WebProtege, when you log in, you will see 
a menu item under the Options menu -> Add new user. In this way, you 
will be able to create new users that will be added to your group on the 
fly. You can also create users from the metaproject, if you want more 
control on the access rights.

Once you are done with editing the metaproject, save it, and the send it 
to the IT people to copy it to the projects/metaproject folder of 

Another thing is that ideally, you should run WebProtege in the 
"External Server Mode" [4]: this means that the ontologies are loaded on 
a Protege server, and WebProtege will connect to this server to load the 
ontologies. This also means that you can connect to the same ontology 
using a Protege rich client to perform operations that are not possible 
in the web client, or simply to check things out. If you use this mode, 
you'll be able to use the server admin application [5] and configure the 
server while it is running (add new project, create users, change 
permissions, etc.).

I know this configuration sounds like a daunting task, but this is a one 
time configuration that you won't have to change later. You can contact 
me privately, if you need help setting up WebProtege.


[2]: Frames:
[3]: OWL:

On 05/27/2010 03:57 PM, Peter Chan wrote:
> Here in the Special Collections at Stanford University Libraries, we would like to use Web-Protege to create taxonomies for selected collections (e.g. Stephen Jay Gould, Buckminster Fuller, etc.) with input from "experts" around the world.
> Our IT department (DLSS) has already installed the local mode of WebProtege for me. ( I expect I can use proper ID to create new projects, assign ids to other people to contribute to the projects I created. However, it seems I can just view the sample projects in the installation files. In the installation guide, I was told to configure the metaproject if I want to edit the list of available ontologies. After I asked our IT people to give me the proper access rights to edit the metaproject  file, I was given for me to edit. I do not have the technical expertise to edit a ontology project file in a file listing format.
> As an archivist, I am capable of download "Protege", create a project for the taxonomy I needed. I expect WebProtege to have a graphic user interface similar to Protege for project creation and user id management. Is there something wrong with my existing installation of WebProtege? Or WebProtege is not designed for non-technical people to create projects and manage user ids?
> Thanks for any ideas in helping to set up my WebProtege!!!

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