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[protege-owl] Deleting a large amount of classes

James Howison james at
Thu Oct 23 09:12:31 PDT 2008

You'll also have to decide what you mean by deleting the classes, at a  
statement level.  Do you just want to delete the Class definitions


:class1 rdf:type owl:Class .

or do you want to eliminate the Class from your ontology entirely, by  
deleting all statements that reference it?  For example

:pred1 rdf:type rdf:DataTypeProperty ;
        rdfs:domain :class1 .

If you don't a reasoner might just add the rdf:type statments back  
(since they can be inferred).

If you have 'data-like' individuals do you want to delete all of  
those?  What about objects of other Classes that are (only) attached  
to those Individuals?

It gets particularly complicated when you have Union classes that  
include the class.

If you delete a SuperClass do you want to delete all sub-classes; and  
do you want to delete all the relevant statements for all of those sub  

Might be easier to figure out what you want to remain and do it that  

Programatically I've had success in using SPARQL CONSTRUCT queries to  
either build up what I want to remain, or find all the statements I  
want to remove, then removing the new model from the full model.

Good luck :)


On 23 Oct 2008, at 10:53 AM, Luigi Iannone wrote:

> Hi,
> I am afraid that there is nothing the tool can do for you if you want
> this to happen before Protege uploads the
> ontology.
> The first thing that comes up to my mind though is removing them
> programmatically, using, for instance the OWL API (
> ).
> Regards,
> Luigi
> On 23 Oct 2008, at 11:42, N. Geifman wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I'm working with a large owl file (the gene ontology) and I wish to
>> delete a
>> list of classes (about 10,000) without having to do so manually.
>> I have the list of classes I wish to delete in a MS-Excel file, and
>> I would
>> also like to delete these classes before loading the owl file into
>> Protégé.
>> Does anyone have an idea for how I should do this?
>> Thanks,
>> N. geifman
>> Shraga Segal Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology
>> Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
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