“Extended and Improved!” could some advertisement say of the new v1.5 of “An introduction to ontology engineering” that I made available online today. It’s not that v1 was no good, but there were a few loose ends and I received funding from the digital open textbooks for development (DOT4D) project to turn the ‘mere pdf’ into a proper “textbook package” whilst meeting the DOT4D interests of, principally, student involvement, multilingualism, local relevance, and universal access. The remainder of this post briefly describes the changes to the pdf and the rest of it.
The main changes to the book itself
With respect to contents in the pdf itself, the main differences with version 1 are:
- a new chapter on modularisation, which is based on a part of the PhD thesis of my former student and meanwhile Senior Researcher at the CSIR, Dr. Zubeida Khan (Dawood).
- more content in Chapter 9 on natural language & ontologies.
- A new OntoClean tutorial (as Appendix A of the book, introduced last year), co-authored with Zola Mahlaza, which is integrated with Protégé and the OWL reasoner, rather than only paper-based.
- There are about 10% more exercises and sample answers.
- A bunch of typos and grammatical infelicities have been corrected and some figures were updated just in case (as the copyright stuff of those were unclear).
Other tweaks have been made in other sections to reflect these changes, and some of the wording here and there was reformulated to try to avoid some unintended parsing of it.
The “package” beyond a ‘mere’ pdf file
Since most textbooks, in computer science at least, are not just hardcopy textbooks or pdf-file-only entities, the OE textbook is not just that either. While some material for the exercises in v1 were already available on the textbook website, this has been extended substantially over the past year. The main additions are:
- Slides. While I will not claim that my slides would deserve a beauty contest, I suppose it’s still better than having to make them from scratch (i.e., yes, you may reuse them with attribution). Besides the pdfs, I have also uploaded the latex source files and I have converted them into ppt for those so inclined.
- More tools for the exercises. The main new additions are the DL renderer plugin (described earlier, by Michael Harrison), easily modifiable ODE localiser for Afrikaans and Spanish (described earlier, by Toky Raboanary), and the CLaRO tool for competency question authoring. They’re also neatly indexed now, which should make it easier to find the (relatively popular) OWL species classifier.
- More ontologies for the exercises and some sample answers (list).
- Instructions on setting up a screenreader to properly read the DL symbols, thanks to Joan Byamugisha’s inventiveness.
- A basic OBDA tutorial using data collected from elephants roving in the Kruger Park, mainly written by Frances Gillis-Webber.
There are further extras that are not easily included in a book, yet possibly useful to have access to, such as list of ontology verbalisers with references that Zola Mahlaza compiled and an errata page for v1.
Overall, I hope it will be of some (more) use than v1. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me. (Now with v1.5 there are fewer loose ends than with v1, yet there’s always more that can be done [in theory at least].)
p.s.: yes, there’s a new front cover, so as to make it easier to distinguish. It’s also a photo I took in South Africa, but this time standing on top of Table Mountain.