[Tdwg-tag] UML to RDF?

Gregor Hagedorn G.Hagedorn at BBA.DE
Wed Mar 29 22:33:37 CEST 2006

Donald wrote:

> In both cases, I would of course recommend that we model our objects using a
> more neutral language such as UML and then generate the encoding models we
> actually use.  After that here are the two options I see (not in any order
> of priority).

UML would be absolutely excellent. However do we have tools that support this?

For SDD we failed to communicate in UML, partly because people wanted example 
documents that looked like the html they got so used to, and partly because at 
some stage the complexity could not be handled by manually synchronizing two 
separate forms of expression. However, tools for UML to w3c schema seem to be 
rather experimental and not well available. Or perhaps we just did not find 

(Actually, both TCS and UBIF/SDD use w3c schema in a way that corresponds to 
UML static class diagrams (and are built on class definitions). SDD is built 
with the assumption that someone wants to create a 1:1 mapping of JAVA classes, 
including type derivation, extension, and type-polymorphism. However, it is 
clear that w3c-schema is a hodgepodge compromise, and I guess that makes a 
general UML/w3c-schema mapping difficult.

Is there a good UML editor that exports RDFS/OWL? One that we can use? One that 
we can use in discussions between information scientists and biologists?

If we can forget about RDF/S and simply use a UML tools for all relevant 
discussions (AND for defining the constraints we consider necessary), and the 
product of this discussion can then automatically be turned into RDF, I would 
*love RDF*. (Some comments about using text-editors to edit RDF, however, point 
me into the opposite direction).

Perhaps also schema-driven applications can be built, similar to what CASTOR is 
for Java and w3c-xml-schema?

Then it really does not matter that RDF/S in my view has a much steeper 
learning curve and higher level of abstraction than xml itself - because it is 
software that handles it.

Gregor Hagedorn (G.Hagedorn at bba.de)
Institute for Plant Virology, Microbiology, and Biosafety
Federal Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA)
Königin-Luise-Str. 19           Tel: +49-30-8304-2220
14195 Berlin, Germany           Fax: +49-30-8304-2203

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