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Protege is an open source ontology editor. An ontology is similar to a taxonomy in that it presents a controlled vocabulary for a given area of knowledge. However the relationships between the different objects can be far more complex and richly described.

It allows users to create ontologies in both the Frames and Web Ontology Language (OWL) frameworks. Protege allows users to

  • Import, edit and save existing ontologies written in OWL or RDF (Resource Definition Framework).
  • Create new ontologies.
  • Save ontologies in several formats, including XML expressions of RDF and OWL
  • Visualize ontologies in graphical form, showing the functional relationships between classes.
  • Populate ontologies with concrete instances of classes.
  • Execute reasoners that can perform inferences on an ontology (i.e. classify instances based on their properties)

Intended audience: Protege is designed for those in the field of ontology and knowledge modeling, since some degree of knowledge about the underlying axioms is nearly always required. Some plugins area available that shield a user from these to some degree.

For working scientists, the most useful plugins and views will be those that present complex knowledge models graphically. In addition, it might might be helpful for those wishing to use the RDF/XML expression of Dublin Core to annotate their data with metadata. There are numerous plugins written by other projects. There are many thousands of registered users and a wiki.

Protege can be used to edit simpler vocabulary systems such as Simple Knowledge Organization Schema (SKOS), but generally, its power is overkill for this use.

Technical Expertise Required: 
No programming
Additional Information: 

An ontology is a formal reprentation of concepts in a discipline, and the relationships between them. It is used to reason about the entities in that disipline. Ontologies are the structural frameworks for organizing information and, in the realm of data publication, are the basis of the "semantic web".
An introduction to ontology can be found at: http://protege.stanford.edu/publications/ontology_development/ontology10...

Platform Independent (requires Java 6.0)