Software Libraries

There are many commercial and open source software libraries and APIs for working with XML, RDF, and OWL technologies. This allows you to easily incorporate their use in your applications or develop tools that leverage semantic technology in your particular domain. Below, we briefly describe three of the many software libraries available and present resources for discovering others. All information is current as of last publication (see citation).

Protégé-OWL API

  • Open Source
  • Java-based
  • Active development

The Protégé-OWL API was developed by the Protégé community and development team at Stanford. Using the API, it is possible to easily develop Java-based software that can open, save, query, and reason against ontology files. The Protégé user community is also quite large, with their main mailing list membership totaling close to 200,000.

Jena Java Framework

  • Open Source
  • Java-based
  • Active development

Jena is a very popular library for working with ontology data in Java. Like Protégé, it allows developers to easily include ontology capabilities in their software, including reasoning, SPARQL querying, APIs for RDF and OWL, and a storage mechanism for holding RDF information.

RDFReactor

  • Open Source
  • Java-based
  • Active development

Instead of providing software libraries or APIs for working with RDF or OWL information, RDFReactor takes the approach of converting these formats into something that software developers are already familiar with: objects. RDFReactor is a Java-based library that allows you to work with RDF data as if it were traditional object-oriented data. This familiarity may lessen the learning curve for those getting familiar with ontologies.

Talis Platform

  • Open Source
  • Web service
  • Active development

The Talis Platform takes a different approach to providing tools that enable developers to easily work with ontology data. Instead of providing a downloadable API for use with a particular software language, they have created a web-based service that provides mechanisms to store, index, search, and augment ontology data.

Other Libraries, APIs and Platforms

There are many libraries, frameworks, and APIs for developers to build upon when working with the semantic web and many more are being developed. This guide only covers a small portion of the available solutions and we encourage you to leave feedback regarding software libraries that you find useful. If you would like to explore other options, the W3C has an expansive collection available for review.

Suggested Citation

Alexander, P. 2011. "Software Libraries." In The MMI Guides: Navigating the World of Marine Metadata. http://marinemetadata.org/guides/vocabs/ont/coretech/softwarelibs. Accessed December 6, 2019.