The Data View


After clicking on the Data area in the VocBench Sections Menu, the user lands on any of the various Data View pages. All of the data pages are composed of two main areas: the structure on the left, and the resource view on the right.

For instance, the structure section for the Class Page is composed of a Class Widget and an Instance Widget. The first one shows the tree of Classes in the current project, while the latter shows the list of instances for the class selected on the Class Widget.


The Data Structure View

All structure areas in the Data View have two buttons in common (upper-right part of the structure area).

The Rendering Button activates the rendering for the resources shown in the structure. By default, the rendering is deactivated for OWL entities and activated for SKOS ones.

The Refresh Button allows the user to refresh the view on the structure. Usually structures are kept aligned with changes occurring from any operation. However, it might happen that certain actions cannot be intercepted in all of their outcomes (e.g. a massive inclusion of data); in these case normally a refresh is automatically invoked, though a manual button is included for all those cases which cannot be foreseen by the system.

A gear button , present on the top-right most part of the data structure view, allows to choose various options that are used globally for all structures. Currently, the only one available is for toggling the visualization of deprecated resources.

A dropdown menu button provides a list of further actions.

data dropdown operations

All structure areas have just two items in common in this menu

When the Multiselection is enabled, a checkbox appears next to each resources in the structure. Only when at least one of them is ticked, a further item 'Add a property value to the selected values' is enabled in the menu. As its label suggests, this item allows the user to add a property-value pairs to each checked resource.


Other buttons in the panel heading and items in the dropdown menu may appear depending on the specific data structure being viewed (see later for more details)

The Resource View

The resource-view is a general widget for showing the details of different kind of resources. The resource-view is adaptive wrt the shown resource. So, in the case of classes, class axioms will be highlighted, in the case of properties, the different facets of the property (i.e. OWL types denoting further characteristic of the property) will be shown in a dedicated area, and so on for each major type of resource defined in the RDFS, OWL, SKOS and SKOS-XL vocabularies.

Every time a new resource is being inspected, a new tab on the resource-view will be opened on the resource, while keeping the history of opened tabs.


A click on the X symbol available after the last tab will kill all open tabs but the selected one.

Operations available on the Resource View

Each of the partitions that compose the resource view (see figure below) shows a set of operations that are possible on it.

operations on the res view

There are three different class of areas providing operations:

Partition-level operations

Each partition may be responsible for a single property or for a set of properties, according to some logical grouping. Usually, when representing a single property (as it is the case of the "types" partition) the partition still accounts for all the subproperties (e.g. subproperties of rdf:type in this case) of the property associated to it.

The following actions are possible:

Any "add" action chosen from the partition, allows the user to choose the property from the set of properties associated to the partition and/or from their subproperties.

Property-level operations

After a value is being added for a certain property, that property is listed under its associated partition. The following actions are made available besides each shown property:

Any "add" action chosen from the actions besides each property, is restricted to use that property, and thus allows the user to only choose/create the value to be added.

Value-level operations

These operations are shown on a menu located on the rightmost part of the widgets showing the values associated to the viewed resource through certain properties. The actions associated to them depend on the nature of the value (resource or literal) and on the partition type.

Status button

On the bottom right of the resource view, there is a small status button the appearance of which reflects the mechanism used to retrieve the data about the displayed resource and, consequently, its position (i.e. local project or remote dataset). The table below describes the meaning of the different icons.

Local Resources
Resource in the current project Resource in the current project, which is accessed directly via the RDF4J API
Resource in another local project Resource in another local project, which is open and accessible by the current project (according to the ACL). Similarly to the case above, the resource is accessed directly via the RDF4J API
Remote Resources
Remote resource accessed via URI dereferentiation Remote resource that is accessed by dereferencing its IRI (typically an HTTP URL). The resource view is severely limited by the inability to access information not readily available in the subject page of the resource
Remote resource accessed via SPARQL
Resource in a remote dataset that is accessed via SPARQL. In this circumstance, the resource view behaves similarly to the case of local projects
Remote resource accessed via SPARQL (with limitations)
Resource in a remote dataset that is accessed via a simplified use of SPARQL. In this case, the remote SPARQL endpoint is unable to handle the complex queries associated with the resource view, which fall backs to simplified queries. The resource view behaves like in the dereferentiation scenario, but it also expands some objects (e.g. SKOS-XL reified labels)

A click on the status button opens a popup that indicates explicitly the name of the access method and, depending on the scenario, the accessed project or the accessed remote dataset.

The position of a resource (local vs remote) is determined by matching its namespace against the one associated with a local project or a remote dataset. In the latter case, the information (together with the available access mechanisms) is stored in the Metadata Registry. In fact, irrespectively of the declared namespace, a resource is located in the current project, if it occurs as the subject of any triple.

If the position of a resource can't be determined, the resource view fall backs to dereferentiation, while a red exclamation mark is placed near the status button to let the user know that this access was not informed by metadata in the Metadata Registry. If the user clicks on the status button, the displayed popup reports that this is an attempt to dereference a resource in an unknown dataset and offers a button to start the process of automatic discovery of the dataset metadata. If the discovery succeeds, the resource view is reloaded, aiming at an improved visualization by exploiting the just discovered metadata.

Alignment to an External Resource

Resources in a VocBench project can be aligned to resources available in the same project or to external resources. These external resources can be looked in other projects available on the same VocBench instance or in remote datasets. The option for alignment is available from the general menu at the top-rightmost part of the resource-view, as shown in figure below

start the alignment

The user will then start the procedure for alignment...

add an alignment

it is possible to select a mapping property and to choose three different ways to provide the target resource

Let's see in details the first two options.

Browse local projects option allows to browse the resources trees/lists of the target repository, looking for the candidate match (figure below). Note that, in order to be inspectable, the other projects must have granted access to the project that the user is logged on.

add the alignment

After clicking on "ok", the matched resource is visible on the resource-view (figure below)

add the alignment

Assisted search is a search-based way to discover potential match in external local projects and remote datasets. In the dialog that introduces this feature there is a selector for switching the target of the alignment: a resource in a local project or in a remote dataset. If local is selected, it will be listed the open local projects that grant access to the current project, if remote it will be listed the remote datasets defined in the Metadata Registry, it is also possible to define a new dataset on the fly.

assisted search

In order to operate, the assisted-search needs to profile the mediation between the resource to align and the target project/dataset, consequently it needs metadata about the target project/dataset. In case these metadata are missing, if the target is local it is possible to generate them on the fly, otherwise, if the target is remote it is necessary to generate them from the Metadata Registry management page.

Once the mediation is done, the UI shows a list of lexicalization sets shared between the source resource and the target project/dataset. Then it is possible to select the language (among the ones listed as result of the aforementioned mediation) and the string match modes on which to base the search.

assisted search config

The search will return the resources that matches the search criteria, so the resources that may represent a candidate for the alignment, accompanied by the language and the string match modes which satisfied the match.

assisted search results

Customization of ResourceView

The aspect of the ResourceView can be customized according the user preferences. In the top right corner of the ResourceView, a "cog" button opens a dialog that allows to edit the settings.

The following preferences can be edited:

Here below an image of a splitted ResourceView, showing both an individual and the class it belongs to:

Splitted ResView

And here an image of a ResourceView in tabbed visualization mode. The screenshot demonstrates also how an image is displayed when the Display image preference is enabled.

ResView display image

Some of these preferences are also available in the Preferences page described in the following section.


From version 10.0.0 of VocBench, the Undo feature is available. This feature can be enabled during the project creation and can disabled (or enabled back) through the project settings editor.

When this feature is enabled, using the button in the top bar, or through the key combination ctrl+Z (or cmd+Z on Mac), it is possible to reverse the operations on data that the user has performed. The system keeps a stack of the last 10 operations performed on data, so user can reverse up to 10 operations. This limitations is overcome if the History feature is enabled as well. When an operation is reversed, a notification is shown on the bottom right corner of the screen.

Moreover, whereas it is possible, the previous status is restored also in the UI, e.g. a resource restored in a tree/list, a value restored in the ResourceView, a commit restored in the History/Validation page.

It is possible to reverse only operations performed by the same user that execute the undo, any action performed by any other user stops the ability to perform further undo.

User Preferences for Visualization

Through the user menu - and only when a project is being accessed - it is possible to open the Preferences page.


Currently, the most prominent preferences options cover:


Navigation in tree and list panels is supported by a search bar for finding resources in the dataset.

search bar

The Search Bar

The search bar provides three different search modes

The standard search is the default search fired when the "lens" symbol is clicked or the ENTER key is pressed during the typing into the search bar input field.
search strategy

Besides the "lens" symbol for searching, a quick option button allows to choose the strategy for search, among:

The gear button on the Search bar opens a further set of options:

search options

The following options are available:

Advanced Search

The advanced search is a powerful search tool that allows to search resources in the dataset with the support of a set of more complex filters than the ones of the standard search. Unlike the standard, this search looks for any resource in the dataset, so it is not constrained to the kind of resource shown by the panel where the search is executed/invoked.

advanced search

It foreseen the following filters:

Custom Search

The custom search exploits the power of SPARQL to execute customizable search. A custom search can be instantiated selecting a previously stored parameterized query which must return a single variable (if not, an error will be displayed when running the search).

load custom search

The UI shows a form composed by as many input fields as parameters defined by the parameterized query. Each input field guides the user to enter a value that is compliant with the constraints defined by the related parameterized SPARQL query. For instance, in the example shown in the following figure, the Type field suggests to enter a class, Label Pred. a property and Label a string or a plain literal.
Enabling the details (by clicking on the Details button in the top right corner) the UI shows the variable names (instead of a display name) beside each fields and also the SPARQL query related to the custom search.

custom search details

Data View Tabs

As of version 8.0, the DataView panel provides three different tabs offering different perspectives on the resource being shown:

Data View Pages

Depending on the dataset being edited (an OWL ontology or a SKOS thesaurus), two different set of views are available:

Graph View

In addition to the Data Structure Views (trees and lists), it is possible to explore the data through the Graph View.
VocBench provides three kinds of Graph View:

For further details, see the dedicated page.