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[protege-owl] state of the art for n-ary relations?

Elmar Drewitz Drewitz at
Tue Aug 25 11:47:37 PDT 2009

Thanks Thomas,

you pointed me to the canonical approach, described in

which I knew already.

I had the silent hope that meanwhile there exists e. g. a protégé plugin
supporting the creation of such individual relation instances corresponding
to the patterns for n-ary relations which I did not yet find.


Elmar Drewitz
DrewITz Consulting
Platanenstraße 16 A
D-81377 München
Tel./Fax fest +49(89)74141177
mobil +49(172)8213437, skype: edrewitz
e-mail Drewitz at

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Thomas Russ [mailto:tar at ISI.EDU] 
Gesendet: Montag, 24. August 2009 18:31
An: Drewitz at; User support for the Protege-OWL editor
Betreff: Re: [protege-owl] state of the art for n-ary relations?

On Aug 24, 2009, at 7:31 AM, Elmar Drewitz wrote:

> Hello,
> is somebody able to give a short survey on the state of the art  
> concerning n-ary relations for protégé-owl?

Essentially the way you have to represent n-ary relations in OWL is to  
create a separate individual that represents the relation.

Say, for example you wanted to have a relation BETWEEN(END1, MIDDLE,  
END2).  You would have to create new class BETWEEN-RELATION and then  
use properties END1, MIDDLE, END2 to  link an individual BETWEEN- 
RELATION to the individuals representing the values of that n-ary  

> In my concrete example I would like to have a simultaneous  
> characterization of entities by a (unique) company ID (say its tax  
> number), a period, a GAAP characterization, a Boolean  
> characterization mandatory or not and the value itself (monetary,  
> digital, percent, string) such that this “vector” is unique.

I'm not quite sure I understand your example here.

In any case, it is unfortunately not possible to have OWL enforce any  
uniqueness constraints based on values of properties.

> Any hints are appreciated.
> Best,
> Elmar Drewitz
> DrewITz Consulting
> mobil +49(172)8213437, skype: edrewitz
> e-mail Drewitz at
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