OWL^C: A Contextual Two-Dimensional Web Ontology Language

Authors Sahar Aljalbout, Didier Buchs, Gilles Falquet

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Sahar Aljalbout
  • University of Geneva, Switzerland
Didier Buchs
  • University of Geneva, Switzerland
Gilles Falquet
  • University of Geneva, Switzerland


We would like to thanks our Saussurian colleagues in particular dr. Guiseppe Cosenza for his collaboration on FDS knowledge acquisition.

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Sahar Aljalbout, Didier Buchs, and Gilles Falquet. OWL^C: A Contextual Two-Dimensional Web Ontology Language. In 2nd Conference on Language, Data and Knowledge (LDK 2019). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 70, pp. 2:1-2:13, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Representing and reasoning on contexts is an open problem in the semantic web. Despite the fact that context representation has for a long time been treated locally by semantic web practitioners, a recognized and widely accepted consensus regarding the way of encoding and particularly reasoning on contextual knowledge has not yet been reached by far. In this paper, we present OWL^C : a contextual two-dimensional web ontology language. Using the first dimension, we can reason on contexts-dependent classes, properties, and axioms and using the second dimension, we can reason on knowledge about contexts which we consider formal objects, as proposed by McCarthy [McCarthy, 1987]. We demonstrate the modeling strength and reasoning capabilities of OWL^C with a practical scenario from the digital humanity domain. We chose the Ferdinand de Saussure [Joseph, 2012] use case in virtue of its inherent contextual nature, as well as its notable complexity which allows us to highlight many issues connected with contextual knowledge representation and reasoning.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Computing methodologies → Artificial intelligence
  • Contextual Reasoning
  • OWL^C
  • Contexts in digital humanities


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