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[protege-owl] Could swrl rules be separated from the OWLknowledge base?

Martin O'Connor martin.oconnor at
Tue Jan 29 21:51:21 PST 2008

In the SWRL editor you need to import an ontology if you want to write rules that use concepts from that ontology. It really does not make sense to separate rules from an ontology in the sense that the rules have meaning only in terms of an ontology. Yes, you can store them in a separate file but that is a storage/management issue only – the meaning remains the same. SWRL rules - like standard OWL axioms - are not disembodied entities: they can be interpreted only in terms of the ontology that they refer to.


OWL class descriptions are not currently supported in the SWRLTab [1]. They will be in the next month or so.







From: protege-owl-bounces at [mailto:protege-owl-bounces at] On Behalf Of shangrun du
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 7:59 PM
To: User support for the Protege-OWL editor
Subject: Re: [protege-owl] Could swrl rules be separated from the OWLknowledge base?


Hello Martin,

Thanks a lot for your kindly reply and explaination. Since I'm not quite familiar with SWRL RDF/XML syntax, I'm using the Protege SWRL editor to write rules, but without firstly importing an ontology the editor seems not to work. BTW what do you think about the seperation of rules from the underlying knowledge base, does it really make sense in practice? I didn't have much experience yet, so pls excute me when the question sounds too arbitrary.

I've also wanted to try the feature of class expression(see below) in SWRL, but in protege  an error message is returned: "Error: Invalid identifier: '(' ". Is this feature no more supported or have I done something wrong? Thanks again for your help :-)
(hasChild >=2)(?x)  →  Parent(?x)

Best Regards

2008/1/27, Martin O'Connor <martin.oconnor at>:

You can simply store all the SWRL rules in one OWL file and import as
necessary. However, you should not regard SWRL rules as semantically
separate from the ontology - in an ontology they have the same formal
status as other OWL axioms. SWRL rules should be considered as just
another type of OWL axiom.


adu wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm a newbie to SWRL and what I want is to have a rule base, which
> could be separated from the OWL knowledge base and the rules could
> later be imported into the knowledge base and fired. I'm not sure
> whether it is possible to do this using SWRL. Could anyone give me an
> answer or suggestion? Thanks a lot J
> Cheers,
> Jun
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