Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

This is an archived syllabus from 2013-2014

COMP60421 Ontology Engineering for the Semantic Web syllabus 2013-2014

COMP60421 Ontology Engineering for the Semantic Web

Level 6
Credits: 15
Enrolled students: 43

Course leader: Sean Bechhofer

Additional staff: view all staff

Assessment methods

  • 50% Written exam
  • 50% Coursework
Sem 1 P2 Lecture 2.19 Fri 09:00 - 09:00 -
Sem 1 P2 Lecture 2.19 Fri 14:00 - 14:00 -
Sem 1 P2 Lab 2.25abcd Fri 15:30 - 15:30 -
Themes to which this unit belongs
  • Advanced Web Technologies


Knowledge representation and "ontologies" are critical to the development of the next generation Web - "The Semantic Web." Beyond the Semantic Web, semantically rich applications, ontologies and metadata are playing an increasing role in cutting edge applications. The W3C Web Ontology Language, OWL, is now an established standard for developing and managing ontologies both for the Semantic Web and for other semantically rich applications. Manchester played a major role in OWL's development, and OWL plays a key role in many of its research programmes and industrial collaborations.

This unit presents both the foundations and practice of developing and using OWL ontologies. The course is split roughly evenly between theoretical material on ontology design and logics underlying OWL and practical work on developing ontologies using OWL and applications using the Java OWL-API. The course uses Protege-OWL environment which has been developed in the School and is now the de facto standard open-source environment for developing OWL ontologies.


The unit will provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of leading edge solutions for the Semantic Web. It will introduce students to the W3C standard Web Ontology Language, OWL. It will provide students with experience using a set of established patterns for developing OWL ontologies and help them to learn to avoid the major pitfalls in using OWL. It will give them an opportunity to become familiar with a widely used environment for developing and applying OWL ontologies.



  • Introduction to Knowledge Representation and the Semantic Web
  • Introduction to the Web Ontology Language OWL
  • Description logics and classifiers
  • Methods for developing and evaluating ontologies.
  • Common problems in ontology development
  • Application development using the OWL API

Lab work

  • Introduction to Protege and OWL including advanced tutorial
  • Special problems of representation and reasoning in OWL
  • Practical individual development project using Java
  • Critique/comment on implemented ontologies on the Web

Teaching methods


1 day per week (5 weeks)

Feedback methods

* In-class tests and questionnaires to support students in monitoring their understanding.
* Weekly assignments via Blackboard.
* Weekly practical lab sessions with demonstrator assistance.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam (2 hours)
  • Lectures (25 hours)
  • Practical classes & workshops (10 hours)

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Learning outcomes

Programme outcomeUnit learning outcomesAssessment
G1Be able to discuss/explain the role of ontology languages in applications, in particular the Web Ontology Language OWL.
  • Examination
G1 G2Be able to explain the syntax and semantics of OWL, and the decision procedures that underpin the use of reasoning.
  • Examination
G1Be able to create an ontology for a particular domain to enhance an application.
  • Individual coursework
G1 G2Be able to create an application that is enhanced through the use of an ontology.
  • Individual coursework
G2 G3Be able to apply patterns in the design of ontologies.
  • Examination
  • Individual coursework
G1 G3Be able to design and build ontologies in OWL using the de facto standard editor, Protege, justify and evaluate their design and explain their behaviour.
  • Individual coursework

Reading list

COMP60421 does not have a specified reading list.

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.