The OWL Web Ontology Language is designed for use by
applications that need to process the content of
information instead of just presenting information to
OWL facilitates greater machine readability of Web
content than that supported by XML, RDF, and RDF Schema by providing additional
vocabulary along with a formal semantics.
OWL has three increasingly-expressive sublanguages: OWL
Lite, OWL DL, and OWL Full.
This document is written for readers who want a first impression of the
capabilities of OWL. It provides an introduction to OWL by informally describing
the features of each of the sublanguages of OWL. Some knowledge of RDF Schema is useful for
understanding this document, but not essential. After this document, interested
readers may turn to the OWL Guide for a more
detailed descriptions and extensive examples on the features of OWL. The
normative formal definition of OWL can be found in the OWL Semantics and Abstract Syntax.
Status of this document
This section describes the status of this document at the time of its
publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C
Recommendations and other technical reports is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/.
This Overview is a non-normative document, which means that it does not
provide a definitive specification of OWL. The examples and other explanatory
material herein are provided to help understand OWL, but may
not always provide definitive or complete answers. The normative formal
definition of OWL can be found in the OWL Semantics
and Abstract Syntax.
This document is a working document for the use by W3C Members and other
interested parties. It may be updated, replaced or made obsolete by other
documents at any time.
This document has been produced by the Web Ontology Working Group, as part
of the W3C Semantic Web
Activity. The goals of the Web Ontology working group are discussed in the
Web Ontology Working Group
Comments on this document should be sent to the W3C mailing list email@example.com
There are no patent disclosures related to this work at the time of this
- Document Roadmap
- Why OWL?
- The three sublanguages
- The structure of this
- Language Synopsis
- OWL Lite Synopsis
- OWL DL and OWL Full
- Language Description of
- OWL Lite RDF Schema
- OWL Lite Equality and
- OWL Lite Property
- OWL Lite Property Type
- OWL Lite Restricted
- OWL Lite Class
- OWL Datatypes
- OWL Lite Header
- Incremental Language
Description of OWL DL and OWL Full
This document describes the OWL Web Ontology Language. OWL
is intended to be used when the information contained in
documents needs to be processed by applications, as opposed
to situations where the content only needs to be presented
OWL can be used to explicitly represent the
meaning of terms in vocabularies and the relationships between those terms. This
representation of terms and their interrelationships is called an ontology.
OWL has more facilities for expressing meaning and semantics than XML, RDF, and
RDF-S, and thus OWL goes beyond these languages in its ability to represent
machine readable content on the Web. OWL is a revision of the DAML+OIL web ontology
language incorporating lessons learned from the design and application of
1.1 Document Roadmap
The OWL Language is described by a set of documents, each fulfilling a
different purpose, and catering for a different audience. The following provides
a brief roadmap for navigating through this set of documents:
The suggested reading order of these documents is as
given, since they have been listed in increasing degree of technical content.
- This Owl Overview
gives a simple introduction to OWL by providing a language feature listing
with very brief feature descriptions;
- The OWL
Guide demonstrates the use of the OWL language by providing an extended
example. It also provides glossary
of the terminology used in these documents;
- The OWL Reference gives a
systematic and compact (but still informally stated) description of all the
modelling primitives of OWL;
- The OWL Semantics and Abstract
Syntax document is the final and formally stated normative definition
of the language.
1.2 Why OWL?
The Semantic Web is a vision for the future of the Web in which information
is given explicit meaning, making it easier for machines to automatically
process and integrate information available on the Web. The Semantic Web will
build on XML's ability to define customized tagging schemes and RDF's flexible
approach to representing data.
The first level above RDF required for the Semantic Web is an
ontology language what can formally describe the meaning of
terminology used in Web documents.
If machines are
expected to perform useful reasoning tasks on these documents, the language must
go beyond the basic semantics of RDF Schema. The OWL Use Cases and Requirements Document provides
more details on
ontologies, motivates the need for a Web Ontology Language in terms of six use cases, and
OWL has been designed to meet this need for a Web Ontology Language.
OWL is part of the growing stack of W3C recommendations related to
the Semantic Web.
provides a surface syntax for structured documents, but imposes no
semantic constraints on the meaning of these documents.
is a language for restricting the structure of XML documents.
is a datamodel for objects ("resources") and relations between them,
provides a simple semantics for this datamodel, and these datamodels can be
represented in an XML syntax.
is a vocabulary for describing properties and classes of RDF resources,
with a semantics for generalization-hierarchies of such properties and
adds more vocabulary for describing properties and classes: among others,
relations between classes (e.g. disjointness), cardinality (e.g. "exactly
one"), equality, richer typing of properties, characteristics of properties
(e.g. symmetry), and enumerated classes.
1.3 The three sublanguages of OWL
OWL provides three increasingly expressive sublanguages designed for use by
specific communities of implementers and users.
OWL Lite supports those
users primarily needing a classification hierarchy and simple constraints.
For example, while it supports cardinality constraints, it only
permits cardinality values of 0 or 1. It should be simpler to provide tool
support for OWL Lite than its more expressive relatives, and
OWL Lite provides a quick
migration path for thesauri and other taxonomies.
OWL DL supports those users
who want the maximum expressiveness while retaining computational
completeness (all conclusions are guaranteed to be computed) and
decidability (all computations will finish in finite time). OWL DL includes
all OWL language constructs, but they can be used only under certain
restrictions (for example, while a class may be a subclass of many classes, a
class cannot be an instance of another class). OWL
DL is so named due to its correspondence with description logics, a field of research
that has studied the logics that form the formal foundation of OWL.
OWL Full is meant for
users who want maximum expressiveness and the syntactic freedom of RDF with no
computational guarantees. For example, in OWL Full a class can be treated
simultaneously as a collection of individuals and as an individual in its own
right. OWL Full allows an ontology to augment the meaning of the pre-defined
(RDF or OWL) vocabulary. It is
unlikely that any reasoning software will be able to
support complete reasoning for every feature of OWL Full.
Each of these sublanguages is an extension of its simpler predecessor, both
in what can be legally expressed and in what can be validly concluded. The
following set of relations hold. Their inverses do not.
- Every legal OWL Lite ontology is a legal OWL DL ontology.
- Every legal OWL DL ontology is a legal OWL Full ontology.
- Every valid OWL Lite conclusion is a valid OWL DL conclusion.
- Every valid OWL DL conclusion is a valid OWL Full conclusion.
Ontology developers adopting OWL should consider which sublanguage best suits
The choice between OWL Lite and OWL DL depends on the extent to
users require the more-expressive constructs provided by OWL
DL and OWL Full.
The choice between OWL DL and OWL Full mainly depends on the
extent to which users require the meta-modeling facilities of RDF Schema (e.g.
defining classes of classes, or attaching properties to classes).
When using OWL
Full as compared to OWL DL, reasoning support is less predictable since complete
OWL Full implementations do not currently exist.OWL Full can be viewed as an
extension of RDF, while OWL Lite and OWL DL can be viewed as extensions of a
restricted view of RDF. Every OWL (Lite, DL, Full) document is an RDF
document, and every RDF document is an OWL Full document, but only some RDF
documents wll be a legal OWL Lite or OWL DL document.
1.4 The structure of this document
This document first describes the features from OWL Lite, followed
by a description from the features that are added in OWL DL and OWL
Full (OWL DL and OWL Full contain the same features, but OWL Full is
more liberal about how these features can be combined).
2. Language SynopsisThis section provides a quick index to
all the language features for OWL Lite, OWL DL, and OWL Full.
In this document, italicized terms are terms in OWL. Prefixes of rdf: or
rdfs: are used when terms are already present in RDF or RDF Schema. Otherwise
terms are introduced by OWL. Thus, the term rdfs:subPropertyOf indicates
that subPropertyOf is already in the rdfs vocabulary (technically : the rdfs
namespace). Also, the term Class is more precisely stated as
owl:Class and is a term introduced by OWL.
2.1 OWL Lite Synopsis
The list of OWL Lite language constructs is given below.
2.2 OWL DL and Full Synopsis
The list of OWL DL and OWL Full language constructs that are in addition to
those of OWL Lite is given below.
3. Language Description of OWL Lite
This section provides an informal description of the OWL Lite language
features. We do not discuss the specific syntax of these features (see the OWL Reference for definitions). Each
language feature is hyperlinked to the appropriate place in the OWL Guide for more
examples and guidance on usage.
OWL Lite uses only some of the OWL language features and has
has more limitations on the use of the features than OWL DL or
... are also only allowed between named classes,
... Similarly, restrictions
In OWL Lite classes can only be defined in terms of
named superclasses (superclasses cannot be arbitrary expressions),
and only certain kinds of class restrictions can be used.
classes and subclass relationships between classes are also only allowed between
named classes, and not between arbitrary class expressions. Similarly,
restrictions in OWL Lite use only named classes. OWL Lite also has a
limited notion of cardinality - the only cardinalities allowed to be explicitly
stated are 0 or 1.
3.1 OWL Lite RDF Schema Features
The following OWL Lite features related to RDF Schema are included.
A class defines a group of individuals that belong together because they share
some properties. For example, Deborah and Frank are both members of the class
Person. Classes can be organized in a specialization hierarchy using SubClassOf. There is a
built-in most general class named Thing
that is the class of all individuals and
a superclass of all OWL classes.
Class hierarchies may be created by making one or more statements that a class
is a subclass of another class. For example, the class Person
could be stated to be a subclass of the class Mammal. From this a reasoner can
deduce that if an individual is a Person, then it is a Mammal.
Properties can be used to state relationships between
individuals or from individuals to data values.
Examples of properties
include hasChild, hasRelative, hasSibling, and hasAge. The first three
can be used to
an instance of a class Person to another instance of the class Person (and are
thus ObjectProperties), and the last (hasAge) can be used to relate an instance of the
class Person to an instance of the datatype Integer (and is thus a Datatype
Property hierarchies may be created by making one or more statements that a
property is a subproperty of one or more other properties. For example,
hasSibling may be stated to be a subproperty of hasRelative. From this a
reasoner can deduce that if an individual is related to another by the
hasSibling property, then
it is also related to the other by the hasRelative property.
A domain of a property limits the individuals to which the property can
be applied. If a property relates individual to another individual,
and the property has a class as one of its domains, then the individual must
belong to the class. For example, the property
hasChild may be stated to have the domain of Mammal. From this a reasoner can
deduce that if Frank hasChild Anna, then Frank must be a Mammal. Note that
rdfs:domain is called a global restriction since the restriction is
stated on the property and not just on the property when it is associated with
a particular class. See the discussion below on local restrictions for more
The range of a property limits the individuals that the property may have
as its value. If a property relates an individual to another individual,
and the property has
a class as its range, then the other indivual must belong to the range class.
For example, the
property hasChild may be stated to have the range of Mammal. From this a
reasoner can deduce that if Louise is related to Deborah by the hasChild
property, i.e., Deborah is the child of Louise, then Deborah is a Mammal.
Range is also a global restriction as is domain above. Again, see the
discussion below on local restrictions (e.g. AllValuesFrom) for more
- Individual : Individuals are instances of
classes, and properties may be used to relate one individual to another. For
example, an individual named Deborah may be described as an instance of the
class Person and the property hasEmployer may be used to relate the individual
Deborah to the individual StanfordUniversity.
3.2 OWL Lite Equality and InequalityThe
following OWL Lite features are related to equality or inequality.
- equivalentClass : Two classes may be
stated to be equivalent. Equivalent classes have the same instances.
Equality can be used to create synonymous classes.
For example, Car can be stated to be equivalentClass to Automobile.
From this a reasoner can deduce that any individual that is an instance of Car
is also an instance of Automobile and vice versa.
Two properties may be stated to be equivalent. Equivalent properties relate one individual to the same set of other individuals.
Equality may be used to create
synonymous properties. For example, hasLeader may be stated to be the
equivalentProperty to hasHead. From this a reasoner can deduce that if
X is related to Y by the property hasLeader, X is also related to Y by the
property hasHead and vice versa. A reasoner can also deduce that hasLeader is
a subproperty of hasHead and hasHead is a subProperty of hasLeader.
Two individuals may be stated to be the same. This construct may be used to
create a number of different names that refer to the same individual. For
example, the individual Deborah may be stated to be the same individual as
An individual may be stated to be different from other individuals. For
example, the individual Frank may be stated to be different from the
individuals Deborah and Jim. Thus, if the individuals Frank and Deborah are
both values for a property that is stated to be functional (thus the property
has at most one value), then there is a contradiction. Explicitly stating that
individuals are different can be important in when using languages such as OWL
(and RDF) that do not assume that individuals have one and only one name. For
example, with no additional information, a reasoner will not deduce that Frank
and Deborah refer to distinct individuals.
A number of individuals may be stated to be mutually distinct in one
allDifferent statement. For example, Frank, Deborah, and Jim could be stated
to be mutually distinct using the allDifferent construct. Unlike the
differentFrom statement above, this would also enforce that Jim and Deborah
are distinct (not just that Frank is distinct from Deborah and Frank is
distinct from Jim). The allDifferent construct is particularly useful when
there are sets of distinct objects and when modelers are interested in
enforcing the unique names assumption within those sets of objects.
3.3 OWL Lite Property CharacteristicsThere are
special identifiers in OWL Lite that are used to provide information concerning
properties and their values.
One property may be stated to be the inverse of another property. If the
property P1 is stated to be the inverse of the property P2, then if X is
related to Y by the P2 property, then Y is related to X by the P1 property.
For example, if hasChild is the inverse of hasParent and Deborah hasParent
Louise, then a reasoner can deduce that Louise hasChild Deborah.
Properties may be stated to be transitive. If a property is transitive, then
if the pair (x,y) is an instance of the transitive property P, and the pair
(y,z) is an instance of P, then the pair (x,z) is also an instance of P. For
example, if ancestor is stated to be transitive, and if Sara is an ancestor of
Louise (i.e., (Sara,Louise) is an instance of the property ancestor) and
Louise is an ancestor of Deborah (i.e., (Louise,Deborah) is an instance of the
property ancestor), then a reasoner can deduce that Sara is an ancestor of
Deborah (i.e., (Sara,Deborah) is an instance of the property ancestor).
OWL Lite (and OWL DL) impose the side condition that transitive properties
(and their superproperties) cannot have a maxCardinality 1 restriction.
Without this side-condition, OWL Lite and OWL DL would become undecidable
languages. See the property axiom section of the OWL Abstract Syntax and Semantics
document for more information.
Properties may be stated to be symmetric. If a property is symmetric, then if
the pair (x,y) is an instance of the symmetric property P, then the pair (y,x)
is also an instance of P. For example, friend may be stated to be a symmetric
property. Then a reasoner that is given that Frank is a friend of Deborah can
deduce that Deborah is a friend of Frank. Note that properties that are to be
made symmetric may not have arbitrary domains and ranges.
: Properties may be stated to have a unique value. If a property is a
FunctionalProperty, then it has no more than one value for each individual (it
may have no values for an individual). This characteristic has been referred
to as having a unique property. FunctionalProperty is shorthand for stating
that the property's minimum cardinality is zero and its maximum cardinality is
1. For example, hasPrimaryEmployer may be stated to be a FunctionalProperty.
From this a reasoner may deduce that no individual may have more than one
primary employer. This does not imply that every Person must have at least one
primary employer however.
Properties may be stated to be inverse functional. If a property is inverse
functional then the inverse of the property is functional. Thus the inverse of
the property has at most one value for each individual. This characteristic
has also been referred to as an unambiguous property. For example,
hasUSSocialSecurityNumber (a unique identifier for United States residents)
may be stated to be inverse functional (or unambiguous). The inverse of this
property (which may be referred to as isTheSocialSecurityNumberFor) has at
most one value for any individual in the class of social security numbers.
Thus any one person's social security number is the only value for their
isTheSocialSecurityNumberfor property. From this a reasoner can deduce that no
two different individual instances of Person have the identical US Social
Security Number. Also, a reasoner can deduce that if two instances of Person
have the same social security number, then those two instances refer to the
3.4 OWL Lite Property Type Restriction
OWL Lite allows restrictions to be placed on how properties can be
used by instances of a class.
following two restrictions
limit which values can be used while the next section's restrictions limit how
many values can be used.
The restriction allValuesFrom is stated on a property with respect to a class.
It means that this property on this particular class has a local range
restriction associated with it. Thus if an instance of the class is related by
the property to a second individual, then the second individual can be
inferred to be an instance of the local range restriction class. For example,
the class Person may have a property called hasOffspring restricted to have
allValuesFrom the class Person. This means that if an individual person Louise
is related by the property hasOffspring to the individual Deborah, then from
this a reasoner can deduce that Deborah is an instance of the class Person.
This restriction allows the property hasOffspring to be used with other
classes, such as the class Cat, and have an appropriate value restriction
associated with the use of the property on that class. In this case,
hasOffspring would have the local range restriction of Cat when associated
with the class Cat and would have the local range restriction Person when
associated with the class Person. Note that a reasoner can not deduce from an
allValuesFrom restriction alone that there actually is at least one value for
The restriction someValuesFrom is stated on a property with respect to
a class. A particular class may have a restriction on a property that at least
one value for that property is of a certain type. For example, the class
SemanticWebPaper may have a someValuesFrom restriction on the
hasKeyword property that states that some value for the hasKeyword
property should be an instance of the class SemanticWebTopic. This allows for
the option of having multiple keywords and as long as one or more is an
instance of the class SemanticWebTopic, then the paper would be consistent
with the someValuesFrom restriction. Unlike allValuesFrom,
someValuesFrom does not restrict all the values of the property to be
instances of the same class. If myPaper is an instance of the SemanticWebPaper
class, then myPaper is related by the hasKeyword property to at least
one instance of the SemanticWebTopic class. Note that a reasoner can not
deduce (as it could with allValuesFrom restrictions) that all
values of hasKeyword are instances of the SemanticWebTopic class
3.5 OWL Lite Restricted Cardinality
OWL Lite includes a limited form of cardinality restrictions. OWL (and OWL
Lite) cardinality restrictions are referred to as local restrictions, since they
are stated on properties with respect to a particular class. That is, the
restrictions constrain the cardinality of that property on instances of that
class. OWL Lite cardinality restrictions are limited because they only allow
statements concerning cardinalities of value 0 or 1 (they do not allow arbitrary
values for cardinality, as is the case in OWL DL and OWL Full).
Alternate namings for these restricted forms of cardinality were
discussed. Current recommendations are to include any such names in a front end
system. More on this topic is available on the publically available webont mail
archives with the most relevant message at http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2002Oct/0063.html.
Cardinality is stated on a property with respect to a particular class. If a
minCardinality of 1 is stated on a property with respect to a class,
then any instance of that class will be related to at least one individual by
that property. This restriction is another way of saying that the property is
required to have a value for all instances of the class. For example,
the class Person would not have any minimum cardinality restrictions stated on
a hasOffspring property since not all persons have offspring. The class
Parent, however would have a minimum cardinality of 1 on the hasOffspring
property. If a reasoner knows that Louise is a Person, then nothing can be
deduced about a minimum cardinality for her hasOffspring property. Once it is
discovered that Louise is an instance of Parent, then a reasoner can deduce
that Louise is related to at least one individual by the hasOffspring
property. From this information alone, a reasoner can not deduce any maximum
number of offspring for individual instances of the class parent. In OWL Lite
the only minimum cardinalities allowed are 0 or 1. A minimum cardinality of
zero on a property just states (in the absence of any more specific
information) that the property is optional with respect to a class. For
example, the property has Offspring may have a minimum cardinality of zero on
the class Person (while it is stated to have the more specific information of
minimum cardinality of one on the class Parent).
Cardinality is stated on a property with respect to a particular class. If a
maxCardinality of 1 is stated on a property with respect to a class,
then any instance of that class will be related to at most one individual by
that property. A maxCardinality 1 restriction is sometimes called a functional
or unique property. For example, the property hasRegisteredVotingState on the
class UnitedStatesCitizens may have a maximum cardinality of one (because
people are only allowed to vote in only one state). From this a reasoner can
deduce that individual instances of the class USCitizens may not be related to
two or more distinct individuals through the hasRegisteredVotingState
property. From a maximum cardinality one restriction alone, a reasoner can not
deduce a minimum cardinality of 1. It may be useful to state that certain
classes have no values for a particular property. For example, instances of
the class UnmarriedPerson should not be related to any individuals by
the property hasSpouse. This situation is represented by a maximum cardinality
of zero on the hasSpouse property on the class UnmarriedPerson.
Cardinality is provided as a convenience when it is useful to state that a
property on a class has both minCardinality 0 and maxCardinality
0 or both minCardinality 1 and maxCardinality 1. For example,
the class Person has exactly one value for the property hasBirthMother. From
this a reasoner can deduce that no two distinct individual instances of the
class Mother may be values for the hasBirthMother property of the same person.
3.6 OWL Lite Class IntersectionOWL Lite has
contains an intersection constructor but limits its usage.
OWL Lite allows intersections of named classes and restrictions. For example,
the class EmployedPerson can be described as the intersectionOf Person
and EmployedThings (which could be defined as things that have a minimum
cardinality of 1 on the hasEmployer property). From this a reasoner may deduce
that any particular EmployedPerson has at least one employer.
OWL uses the RDF mechanisms for data values.
See the OWL
Guide for a more detailed description.
3.8 OWL Lite Header Information
OWL Lite supports notions of ontology inclusion and relationships
and attaching information to ontologies.
See the OWL Reference for details
and the OWL Guide for examples.
4. Incremental Language Description of OWL DL and OWL
FULLBoth OWL DL and OWL Full use the same vocabulary although OWL DL is
subject to some restrictions. Roughly, OWL DL requires type separation (a class
can not also be an individual or property, a property can not also be an
individual or class). This implies that restrictions cannot be applied to the
language elements of OWL itself (something that is allowed in OWL Full).
Furthermore, OWL DL requires that properties are either ObjectProperties or
DatatypeProperties: DatatypeProperties are relations between instances of
classes and RDF literals and XML Schema datatypes, while ObjectProperties are
relations between instances of two classes. The OWL Abstract Syntax and Semantics
document explains the distinctions and limitations. We describe the OWL DL and
OWL Full vocabulary that extends the constructions of OWL Lite below.
This document provides an overview of the
Web Ontology Language by providing a brief introduction to why one might need a
Web ontology language and how OWL fits in with related W3C languages. It also
provides a brief description of the three OWL sublanguages: OWL Lite, OWL DL,
and OWL Full along with a feature synopsis for each of the languages. This
document is an update to the Feature Synopsis Document. It provides simple
descriptions of the constructs along with simple examples. It references the OWL reference document, the OWL Guide, and the
OWL Abstract Syntax and Semantics
document for more details. Previous versions (January
2, 2003, July
29, 2002, July
8, 2002, June
23, 2002, May
26, 2002, and May
15, 2002) of this document provide the historical view of the evolution of
OWL Lite and the issues discussed in its evolution.
(enumerated classes): Classes can be described by enumeration of the
individuals that make up the class. The members of the class are exactly the
set of enumerated individuals; no more, no less. For example, the class of
daysOfTheWeek can be described by simply enumerating the individuals Sunday,
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. From this a reasoner
can deduce the maximum cardinality (7) of any property that has daysOfTheWeek
as its allValuesFrom restriction.
(property values): A property can be required to have a certain individual as
a value (also sometimes referred to as property values). For example,
instances of the class of dutchCitizens can be characterized as those people
that have theNetherlands as a value of their nationality. (TheNetherlands
itself is an instance of the class of Nationalities).
OWL Full allows the statement that classes are disjoint. For example, Man and
Woman can be stated to be disjoint classes. From this disjointWith statement,
a reasoner can deduce an inconsistency when an individual is stated to be an
instance of both and similarly a reasoner can deduce that if A is an instance
of Man, then A is not an instance of Woman.
complementOf, intersectionOf (Boolean combinations): OWL allows
arbitrary Boolean combinations of classes and restrictions: unionOf,
complementOf, and intersectionOf. For example, using unionOf, we can state
that a class contains things that are either USCitizens or DutchCitizens.
Using complementOf, we could state that children are not
SeniorCitizens. (i.e. the class Children is a subclass of the complement of
SeniorCitizens). Citizenship of the European Union could be described as the
union of the citizenship of all member states.
maxCardinality, cardinality (full cardinality): While in OWL Lite,
cardinalities are restricted to at least, at most or exactly 1 or 0, full OWL
allows cardinality statements for arbitrary non-negative integers. For example
the class of DINKs ("Dual Income, No Kids") would restrict the cardinality of
the property hasIncome to a minimum cardinality of two (while the property
hasChild would have be restricted to cardinality 0).
classes : In many constructs, OWL Lite restricts the syntax to
single class names (e.g. in subClassOf or equivalentClass statements). OWL
Full extends this restriction to allow arbitrarily complex class descriptions,
consisting of enumerated classes, property restrictions, and Boolean
combinations. OWL also includes a special "bottom" class with the name Nothing
that is the class that has no instances. Also, OWL full allows classes to be
used as instances (and OWL DL and OWL Lite do not). For more on this topic,
see the "Design for Use" section of the Guide document.
This document is the result of extensive discussions within the Web
Ontology Working Group as a whole. The members of this working group
Jean-François Baget, James Barnette, Sean Bechhofer, Jonathan
Borden, Frederik Brysse, Stephen Buswell, Peter Crowther, Jos De
Roo, David De Roure, Mike Dean, Larry Eshelman, Jérôme Euzenat,
Dieter Fensel, Tim Finin, Nicholas Gibbins, Pat Hayes, Jeff Heflin,
Ziv Hellman, James Hendler, Bernard Horan, Masahiro Hori, Ian
Horrocks, Francesco Iannuzzelli, Mario Jeckle, Ruediger Klein, Ora
Lassila, Alexander Maedche, Massimo Marchiori, Deborah McGuinness,
Libby Miller, Enrico Motta, Leo Obrst, Laurent Olivry , Peter
Patel-Schneider, Martin Pike, Marwan Sabbouh, Guus Schreiber, Noboru
Shimizu, Michael Sintek, Michael Smith, Ned Smith, John Stanton,
Lynn Andrea Stein, Herman ter Horst, Lynne R. Thompson, David
Trastour, Frank van Harmelen, Raphael Volz, Evan Wallace,
Christopher Welty, and John Yanosy.