Methods and Tools for Developing Ontology-Based Data Access Solutions

authors: Giuseppe De Giacomo, Domenico Lembo, Antonella Poggi, Valerio Santarelli, Domenico Fabio Savo

presenters: Domenico Lembo, Valerio Santarelli, Domenico Fabio Savo


The tutorial illustrates methodologies for developing ontology-based data access (OBDA) applications, which aim at coupling conceptual views of information, expressed as Description Logic ontologies, with actual and autonomous data stores. In the tutorial we will present the basics of OBDA, introduce a graphical model for quick development of OWL 2 ontologies, survey typical mechanisms to link ontologies with data, and discuss some special reusable patterns for modelling recurrent representation needs. We will conduct a hands-on-session in which participants will develop (small) OBDA applications and will experiment OBDA functionalities, such as answering SPARQL queries, by exploiting state-of-the-art OBDA tools.

Brief Outline

  1. Short intro to OBDA, ontology verification, and query answering

  2. From graphical models such as ER/UML to Graphol and then to OWL 2 and OWL 2 QL

  3. Ontology modelling patterns

  4. Methodologies for source analysis and mapping development

  5. Hands-on session (bring your laptop!)

Objectives of the tutorial

OBDA is a major novelty in dealing with diverse data sources in a semantically rich way. It requires multidisciplinary competences, crossing different AI and Semantic Web subareas and themes. The tutorial will mainly serve the following objectives:

  1. Introducing ontologies and OBDA principles and techniques, building upon topics that are typically familiar to novices attending ISWC, such as UML and standard data access techniques, using a graphical model, Graphol, which corresponds to full OWL 2.

  2. Delving into advanced aspects, such as ontology modelling patterns and mapping development, which will be of interest for both novices and experts already familiar with semantic technologies.

  3. Providing guidance into how to develop an OBDA solution, by proposing methodologies that were used and developed in real use cases.

Target Audience 

The tutorial aims at inducing interest into novices on the field of OBDA and semantic technologies put into actual use. At the same time, it aims at passing on to experts in the area the experience on developing OBDA applications we have acquired in actual full-fledged use cases we dealt with in various collaborations with private and public organizations.


Basic understanding of languages for conceptual modeling and databases as those acquired in university courses. Familiarity with description logics will be of help but it is not required to follow the tutorial.

Participants to the tutorial are required to bring their own laptop.