Latest Publications

Updates to oegov coming soon

A number of updates will be coming soon in time for the 1st anniversary of oegov on August 1.

QUDT Ontologies for Quantities, Units, Dimensions and Types

Ontologies for Quantities, Units and Dimensions have now being published at this page.

This post will be updated with more explanation of the QUDT Ontologies in the coming days.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Federal Enterprise Architecture Models Published as SKOS Models

Simplified forms of the FEA Reference Models (FEARM) have now been published using SKOS, the W3C Recommendation for Simple Knowledge Organization Systems.

More details and access to the ontologies can be found at this page.

oeGov Foundation Ontologies on the way to becoming International

The foundation for oeGOV is currently undergoing some re-factoring to insert a layer for the U.S.

Core concepts of ‘democracy‘ will be in the ‘gov‘ namespace and specialization for the U.S. is in the ‘usgov‘ namespace.

The TopBraid Composer figure below illustrates how this works for the concept of a ‘Government‘:

A piece of the Government Model

Note that the territory property is using the W3C Countries Ontology, a dependency that will have to be documented on the Ontologies Page.

oeGOV Release 1.0


Today we published an initial set of Ontologies for oeGOV. These ontologies are catalogued on the Ontologies Page.

Release 1.0

  1. Government Core Ontology (gc)
  2. Democracy Ontology (initial version – oegov) – includes constructs for associating published data with government bodies
  3. Organizational Structure of Government Bodies
  4. Government Acts – what acts led to what changes in Government Structure
  5. Linked Data Maps – who has published what and in what format
  6. Initial Ontologies for Branches of Government – named graphs for civil agencies

Next Release

During the month of August, we will release:

  1. FEA Ontologies
  2. QUDT Ontologies – Quantities, Units, Dimensions and Data Types
  3. More documentation using annotations in the ontologies
  4. Re-factoring of some statements in usgov-bodies to more specific datasets

Forward Work

  1. More organization of the website to support participation in the development of the ontologies
  2. U.S. Constitution Ontology
  3. Government Acts – data on what acts led to what changes in Government Structure
  4. Linked Data Maps – data on who has published what and in what format
  5. FEA Correlations – connections to PRM, BRM, SRM, TRM and DRM
  6. Linked Data Enhancements – relating data through QUDT

“NIR” Examples in the Modeling of the Department of Homeland Security

The organizational structure of a government body (GB) is of a temporal nature. As such the rules for constructing the QName of a GB should consider whether or not to prefix the abbreviation of the GB with the parent GB.

Take for example “FEMA” which became part of DHS in March of 2003. Because FEMA is a “well-known acronym”, the QName is “usgov:FEMA” as opposed to “usgov:DHS-FEMA”. “Coast Guard (CG)” and “Secret Service (SS)” are other examples where the prefix is not used. Other sub-organizations that are not so well-known, carry the “DHS-” prefix, for example “usgov:DHS-ICE” and “usgov:DHS-CBP”.

Such considerations on forming QNames are governed by “Name and Identifier Rules (NIR)” – the importance of which, was first appreciated in our Ontology Modeling of the NASA Constellation Program.

An N3 snippet of the DHS is included below:

      a       gov:CivilAgency , gov:ExecutiveAgency ;
      rdfs:label "Department of Homeland Security (DHS)"^^xsd:string ;
      dc:description "Homeland Security leverages resources within federal, state, and local governments, coordinating the transition of multiple agencies and programs into a single, integrated agency focused on protecting the American people and their homeland. More than 87,000 different governmental jurisdictions at the federal, state, and local level have homeland security responsibilities. The comprehensive national strategy seeks to develop a complementary system connecting all levels of government without duplicating effort. Homeland Security is truly a 'national mission'."^^xsd:string ;
      gc:url  ""^^xsd:anyURI ;
      gov:adminstration usgov:TSA ;
      gov:agency usgov:CG , usgov:SS , usgov:FEMA ;
      gov:center usgov:FLETC ;
      gov:committee usgov:HSSTAC , usgov:DHS-TFNA ;
      gov:council usgov:DHS-HSAC , usgov:DHS-NIAC , usgov:CIPAC , usgov:DHS-ICCEPID ;
      gov:department usgov:DHS-ICE , usgov:DHS-CBP ;
      gov:directorate usgov:DHS-DNPP , usgov:DHS-DST , usgov:DHS-DM ;
      gov:mission "The Department of Homeland Security’s overriding and urgent mission is to lead the unified national effort to secure the country and preserve our freedoms. While the Department was created to secure our country against those who seek to disrupt the American way of life, our charter also includes preparation for and response to all hazards and disasters. The citizens of the United States must have the utmost confidence that the Department can execute both of these missions."^^xsd:string ;
      gov:office usgov:DHS-PO , usgov:DHS-ESEC , usgov:DHS-OGC , usgov:DHS-OP , usgov:DHS-OIG , usgov:DHS-OHA , usgov:DHS-OLA , usgov:DHS-OIA , usgov:DHS-OCRCL , usgov:DHS-CISO , usgov:DHS-OPA , usgov:DHS-OS , usgov:DHS-MAO , usgov:DHS-CNE , usgov:DHS-OOC ;
      gov:reportsTo usgov:EOP ;
      gov:service usgov:CIS ;
      gov:suborganization usgov:DHS-CBP .

In order to “keep things simple”, currently the relationships between government bodies do not capture the temporal aspect of relationships. A future blog post would be interesting on ways of expressing temporal qualification.

Modeling the White House in OWL

This evening it was time to re-visit the White House and re-factor it into it’s own OWL Dataset. I thought it would be of interest to use the White House as an example of a resource having multiple types.

Initially I had modeled the White House simply as the Presidential Residence but on further modeling I had to make it also an Office of Government. Using N3 Format, this is expressed in OWL as follows:

      a       gov:PresidentialResidence , gov:Office ;
      rdfs:label "White House"^^xsd:string ;
      dc:description "The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States, recognized worldwide as a symbol of the prestige of the presidency. Built between 1792 and 1800, the sprawling 132-room mansion has been used as a home by every President since John Adams."^^xsd:string ;
      gc:url  ""^^xsd:anyURI ;
      gov:commision usgov:WH-CNMR , usgov:WH-CPS ;
      gov:council usgov:WH-CEQ , usgov:WH-CEA ;
      gov:reportsTo usgov:US-Government ;
      gov:suborganization usgov:WH-FBCIO , usgov:WH-ONAP , usgov:WH-CEQ , usgov:WH-DPC ,
                                       usgov:WH-OA , usgov:WH-NSC , usgov:WH-CNMR , usgov:WH-NEC ,
                                       usgov:WH-CEA , usgov:WH-CPS ;
      =       <>


  1. Multiple types are expressed in N3 as a comma separated list of classes;
  2. Sub-organizations of a government body are named using a hyphenated phrase, For example: ‘WH-ONAP’;
  3. Where known, sub-organizations are specialized as ‘councils’ and ‘commissions’;
  4. a dbpedia link has been provided with an ‘owl:sameAs’ construct expressed in N3 as an “=” statement.

Ontology Architecture of the oeGOV Ontologies

An Ontology Architecture should be designed to maximize reuse and minimize impacts from changes. In keeping with best practices, the component ontology is based on the following organizing principles:

  1. defining domain boundaries based on ease-of-evolution and governance;
  2. organizing Named Graphs according to levels of specificity;
  3. isolating reusable constructs in foundation ontologies;
  4. distinguishing different types of Named Graphs;
  5. confoming to consistent Naming and Identifier Rules.

oeGOV is made up of a number of OWL schemas and datasets published as N3 files. Each file is called a ‘Named Graph’ that holds OWL resources across a number of ontology domains.

Each US Agency is a separate Named Graph that imports a common foundation ontology ‘usgov-bodies.n3′. This establishes the existence of many government bodies but without defining the internal organization of an agency, An example of an Agency Named Graph is ‘us1gov_dhs.n3′. The ’1′ after ‘us’ in the name denotes that the dataset is a level 1 dataset. More specific datasets carry progressively higher numbers.

The ‘usgov-bodies.n3′ ontology imports ‘oegov.n3′ – an ontology that defines the basic organizational structure of a democratic government.

The following figure illustrates the oeGOV Ontology Architecture. Each box is a Named Graph and the connections are ‘import’ relationships. The topmost Named Graph is an aggregation Named Graph that imports each Named Graph of the US Government Agencies. These in turn import the common Named Graph, as discussed before.

OA of US Gov Bodies - version 1.0

The oeGOV ontologies will be published on August 1, 2009.


The following Ontologies make up the oeGOV Schemas. oeGOV.n3 is the main schema of the oeGOV Ontologies.

Schema Description Details
cc Creative Commons (in RDF)

Namespace URI:

RDF Format:

Dependencies: none

dc Dublin Core

Namespace URI:

Dependencies: none

gc Government Core

Namespace URI:

N3 Format: gc.n3

RDF/OWL Format: gc.owl

Dependencies: cc, dc

gov Democracy Ontology

Namespace URI:

N3 Format:oegov.n3

RDF/OWL Format: oegov.owl

Dependencies: cc, dc, gc

For a full calalog of ontologies go here.

The following are N3 fragments of the model.


  a       owl:Ontology ;
  dc:creator "Ralph Hodgson"^^xsd:string ;
  dc:date "$Date: 2009-06-22 21:20:13 -0700 (Mon, 22 Jun 2009) $"^^xsd:string ;
  dc:description "An ontology of a democratic Government modeled after the US."^^xsd:string ;
  dc:rights "Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License"^^xsd:string ;
  dc:title "oeGOV Ontology"^^xsd:string ;
  gov:image "" ;
  gov:revision "$Revision: 1154 $"^^xsd:string ;
  owl:imports dc: ;
  owl:versionInfo "$Id: oegov.n3 1154 2009-06-23 04:20:13Z RalphHodgson $"^^xsd:string .


      a       owl:Class ;
      rdfs:label "Body"^^xsd:string ;
      rdfs:subClassOf owl:Thing ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Body ;
                owl:onProperty gov:reportsTo
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:cardinality "1"^^xsd:int ;
                owl:onProperty gov:reportsTo
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Directorate ;
                owl:onProperty gov:directorate
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Partnership ;
                owl:onProperty gov:partnerOf
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Center ;
                owl:onProperty gov:center
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:maxCardinality "1"^^xsd:int ;
                owl:onProperty gov:mission
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:maxCardinality "1"^^xsd:int ;
                owl:onProperty gov:creationDate
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:maxCardinality "1"^^xsd:int ;
                owl:onProperty gov:url
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Office ;
                owl:onProperty gov:office
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Body ;
                owl:onProperty gov:suborganization
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:maxCardinality "1"^^xsd:int ;
                owl:onProperty dc:description
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Service ;
                owl:onProperty gov:service
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:maxCardinality "1"^^xsd:int ;
                owl:onProperty gov:cessationDate
              ] ;
              [ a       owl:Restriction ;
                owl:allValuesFrom gov:Administration ;
                owl:onProperty gov:adminstration
              ] .

Welcome to


The oeGOV blog is the shared workspace of the Ontologies for e-Government.
Ontologies for expressing Government Organizations and RDF/OWL Named Graphs for each agency of the US Government were first published at on August 1, “Data Independence Day”.

Participation in oeGOV is needed – it cannot be done on my own. If you are interested, please email me at