Saturday, July 26, 2014

Another OWL diagramming transform and some more thoughts on writing

With summer in full-tilt and lots going on, I seem to have lost track of time and been delinquent in publishing new posts. I want to get back into writing slowly ... with a small post that builds on two of my previous ones.

First, I wrote a new XSL transform that outputs all NamedIndividuals specified in an ontology file. The purpose was to help with diagramming enumerations. (I made a simplifying assumption that you added individuals into a .owl file in order to create enumerated or exemplary individuals.) The location of the transform is GitHub (check out And, details on how to use the transform (for example, with the graphical editor, yED) is described in my post, Diagramming an RDF/XML ontology.

If you don't want some individuals included, feel free to refine the transform, or just delete individuals after an initial layout with yEd.

Second, here are some more writing tips, that build on the post, Words and writing .... Most of these I learned in high school (a very long time ago), as editor of the school paper. (And, yes, I still use them today.)
  • My teacher taught us to vary the first letter of each paragraph, and start the paragraphs with interesting words (e.g., not "the", "this", "a", ...). Her point was that people got an impression of the article from glancing at the page, and the first words of the paragraphs made the most impression. If the words were boring, then the article was boring. I don't know if this is true, but it seems like a reasonable thing.
  • Another good practice is to make sure your paragraphs are relatively short, so as not to seem overwhelming. (I try to keep my paragraphs under 5-6 sentences.) Also, each paragraph should have a clear focus and stick to it. It is difficult to read when the main subject of a paragraph wanders.
  • Lastly, use a good opening sentence for each paragraph. It should establish the contents of the paragraph - setting it up for more details to come in the following sentences.
You can check out more writing tips at "Hot 100 News Writing Tips".