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owl2vcs is a set of tools designed to facilitate version control of OWL 2 ontologies using version control systems.


  • owl2diff - a command line diff tool for OWL 2 ontologies;

  • a set of scripts to integrate the tools with Git, Mercurial and Subversion.


  • Detects axioms additions and removals;

  • Detects imports additions and removals;

  • Detects ontology annotations additions and removals;

  • Detects prefix additions, removals, modifications and renames;

  • Detects ontology IRI and version IRI changes;

  • Detects ontology format changes;

  • Supports RDF/XML, OWL/XML, OWL Functional Syntax, Manchester OWL Syntax, Turtle;

  • Changeset serializer and parser;

  • Two formats of changes: compact (like OWL Functional Syntax) and indented (same but uses indents instead of parentheses, more readable);

  • Four formats of IRIs: Simple, QName, Full, Label.


  • Java 1.6 or higher and java in PATH;

  • For Git: git in PATH;

  • For Mercurial: hg in PATH;

Installation instructions

  1. Download;

  2. Unzip;

  3. Add to PATH.

Standalone usage

After adding the directory to PATH you can use the owl2diff command to compare two versions of an ontology. See owl2diff --help for more information.

Usage with Git/Mercurial

  1. Open command shell and cd into your repository;

  2. Type owl2enable;

  3. Now you can view informative diffs for *.owl, *.rdf, and *.ttl files with either hg owl2diff or git diff.

  • If git diff hangs on Windows, use sh -c "git diff" or git difftool.
  1. If you want owl2vcs to compare files with other extensions, edit your .hg/hgrc or .git/info/attributes.

Please help out

This project is still under development. Feedback and suggestions are very welcome and I encourage you to use the Issues list on Github to provide that feedback.

Feel free to fork this repo and to commit your additions.


  1. Fork it.

  2. Clone the develop branch to your machine: git clone -b develop

  3. Create your feature branch: git checkout -b my-new-feature.

  4. Commit your changes: git commit -am 'Added some feature'.

  5. Push to the branch git push origin my-new-feature.

  6. Create new Pull Request.

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