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Ontology Evolution



Note: The latest version of Evolva is available as a plugin for the NeOn Toolkit v2.5.
  • NeOn Toolkit v2.5 (See below for download)
  • WordNet 2.0 (Optional)


  • Download and install the NeOn Toolkit v2.5
  • Launch the NeOn ToolKit
  • In the toolbar of the NeOn Toolkit, got to "Help", then "Software Updates" then "Find and Install" (as in the below screenshot):

    Start evolva
  • Then choose "Install new features":

    Evolva: Ontology Evolution Tool - Start Evolva
  • Follow the screen and you will find "Evolva" under "Ontology Dynamics". When selected, you need to install the "GATE Web Services" under "Knowledge Acquisition":

    Evolva: Ontology Evolution Tool - Start Evolva

Proceed to the following screens and you are ready to go!

User Documentation

  • The user selects the ontology to Evolve, then presses on the Evolva button in the toolbar (highlighted in Red below):

    Start evolva
  • Evolva main panel shows the features of the plug-in. Initially the list of classes existing in the ontology is listed. At this level, the user has the option to choose the classes to take into consideration. Then the "Proceed" button should be pressed.

    evolva Main View

Data Sources

  • At this level, the user specifies the source of information for ontology evolution. Evolva currently supports text corpus processing, a list of terms through a file, and RSS feeds.

    Evolva: Ontology Evolution Tool - Data Sources

Data Validation

  • The data validation cleans and identifies new content to be added to the ontology. The user can modify the parameters and manually selects terms to include/exclude.

    Evolva: Ontology Evolution Tool - Data Validation

Relation Discovery

  • At this level, new terms are linked to the ontology using various background knowledge sources. Currently WordNet and online ontologies (accessed through Scarlet, based on Watson) are used. The user can change the parameters and manually choose relations to be used in the next step.
  • Relations coming from online ontologies are associated with a relevance confidence based on the analysis of the context of the ontology with the online ontology from where the relation is derived. The "G" button generates the graph showing the relevance pattern applied.

    Evolva: Ontology Evolution Tool - Relation Discovery
  • Please note that when online ontologies are used as a source of background knowledge, the process will take a considerable amount of time depending on the size of ontology/data to process, and on the internet connection speed.
  • WordNet is disabled by default. To enable it, WordNet should be downloaded and installed locally, then the path to the dictionary (e.g. "C:\Program Files\WordNet\2.0\dict") should be specified in Evolva's preferences settings.

Ontology Changes

  • Based on the selected relations, the list of changes is displayed to the user, with the option to apply them to the ontology itself, or to a new detached version, which automatically appears on the left of the NeOn Toolkit.

A demo movie on how to use Evolva is available on the NeOn project website.

Licensing and User Agreement

The Evolva Plugin for the NeOn toolkit is distributed under the EPL license.


This work is funded by the NeOn project under European Commission grant no. IST-FF6-027595.

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Latest News

Honorary Mention for Fouad Zablith at ESWC's PhD Symposium
KMi PhD student Fouad Zablith has been awarded a honorary mention for his paper entitled "Evolva: A Comprehensive Approach to Ontology Evolution", at the PhD Symposium held during the 2009 European Semantic Web Conference...

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