Web-based graphical querying of databases through an ontology: The Wonder system
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Biological scientists have made large amounts of data available on the Web, which can be accessed by canned or precomputed queries presented via web forms. To satisfy further information needs, users currently have to have a good understanding of SQL and how the data is stored in the database. While accessing information at the ontological layer seems more appropriate, this poses two challenges: (1) to query data in databases and triple stores through an ontology with little performance overhead, and (2) to provide an intuitive web-based access to users that are not IT experts. To address these issues, we draw upon the theory and technology developed for Ontology-Based Data Access for DL-Lite. With an OWL ontology and the DIG-QuOnto reasoner as building blocks, we have developed an application that allows for graphical ontology browsing, query formulation, and answer retrieval via a Web browser. We have evaluated our system for Web-ONtology baseD Extraction of Relational data (Wonder) with an existing large genomics database about horizontal gene transfer and found that it meets both the scalability and the usability requirements.