Light-Weighted Automatic Import of Standardized Ontologies into the Content Management System Drupal.


The realisation of a complex web portal is a challenging process. The contents describe different interconnected entities that form a complex structure. The entities and their relations have to be analysed, and the content has to be uploaded into the web portal. Ontologies (the study of categories of being and their relations) provide a suitable solution for modelling and specifying complex entities and their relations. However, the functionality for automated import of ontologies is not available in current web portals.

In order to describe the content of a web portal, we developed an ontology. Based on this ontology, we implemented a pipeline that imports the content into the web portal Drupal. Our method enables the development of web portals with the focus on a suitable representation of structured knowledge (entities, their properties and relations). Furthermore, it makes it possible to represent existing ontologies in such a way that their content can be understood by users without knowledge of ontologies.

Our approach has successfully been applied in building the LHA (Leipzig Health Atlas) portal, which provides access to information about clinical data, publications and methods from various research projects at the University of Leipzig.

The amount of ontologies, which are utilizable for widespread domains, is growing steadily. BioPortal alone, embraces over 500 published ontologies with nearly 8 million classes. In contrast, the vast informative content of these ontologies is only directly intelligible by experts. To overcome this deficiency it could be possible to represent ontologies as web portals, which does not require knowledge about ontologies and their semantics, but still carries as much information as possible to the end-user. Furthermore, the conception of a complex web portal is a sophisticated process. Many entities must be analyzed and linked to existing terminologies. Ontologies are a decent solution for gathering and storing this complex data and dependencies. Hence, automated imports of ontologies into web portals could support both mentioned scenarios. The Content Management System (CMS) Drupal 8 is one of many solutions to develop web presentations with less required knowledge about programming languages and it is suitable to represent ontological entities. We developed the Drupal Upper Ontology (DUO), which models concepts of Drupal's architecture, such as nodes, vocabularies and links. DUO can be imported into ontologies to map their entities to Drupal's concepts. Because of Drupal's lack of import capabilities, we implemented the Simple Ontology Loader in Drupal (SOLID), a Drupal 8 module, which allows Drupal administrators to import ontologies based on DUO. Our module generates content in Drupal from existing ontologies and makes it accessible by the general public. Moreover Drupal offers a tagging system which may be amplified with multiple standardized and established terminologies by importing them with SOLID. Our Drupal module shows that ontologies can be used to model content of a CMS and vice versa CMS are suitable to represent ontologies in a user-friendly way. Ontological entities are presented to the user as discrete pages with all appropriate properties, links and tags.
Publication Date
Studies in health technology and informatics
Journal Volume
Journal Section
pp 111-123
Corresponding Author
Alexandr Uciteli
Corresponding Author Insitution
Härtelstraße 16-18
04107 Leipzig
Corresponding Author email
031L0026/BMBF (i:DSem LHA)
Publication Type