NIF Ontologies and Terminologies

Current Version of NIFSTD Ontology

The NIFSTD ontology is composed of a collection of OWL modules covering distinct domains of bio-medical reality.

We are using a semantic wiki to expose the content of the NIFSTD vocabularies to the community for comment and development.  The Neurolex Wiki is available at  We are experimenting with Wiki's abilities for collaborative editing and commenting on the NIFSTD. Each class in NIFSTD has been turned into a Wiki page, using technologies developed as part of the Semantic Media Wiki project. Note that changes to the Wiki pages are not immediately reflected in the OWL files. These changes are managed by the NIF Ontology Curator.

You can subscribe to NeuroLex mailing list here.  The Neurolex mailing list serves as a discussion forum for ontology development issues for the neurosciences. 

Suggest a term: 

If the NIFSTD is missing a concept, synonym or definition or if you'd like to post a comment about a concept, please use the Neurolex Wiki .  If you are unfamiliar with working with a Wiki, you can use the Create a generic category box on the home page.  Just type in the term and a category page will be created for you.  We are working to create ID's for each category entered into the Neurolex Wiki, but right now, it isn't automatic.  We assign an ID once we do the curation.  You can set up a watch for that page using the Wiki functions, and when an ID is assigned, you will be notified.

Loading the NIFSTD Ontology

In order to get started with NIFSTD in OWL, check out Getting Started with the NIF Ontologies.

The older version of NIFSTD (v.0.5) can be accessed at: All other versions after the 1.0 release can be accessed from the NIF ontology archive at The nif.owl file within an archive directory points to that specific older version of  NIFSTD modules.

Partonomy Classification

To classify and view the partonomy of brain regions. Please go to Brain Partonomy Page.

NIFSTD Visualizer:

Wiki version of NIF

The wiki version of the NIFSTD is avalable at In the next version of the wiki, we can take advantage of a feature called "patrolled edits" that will let us marked changes as having been "patrolled" or approved. Unapproved changes will be highlighted in the changelist. This will be a way to help folks keep track of what has been approved.However, for now what we have is the change list. Use these links to get a complete look at all changes made to the wiki in the last 60 days:

Any page listed that starts with "Category" is a NIF class. Some of these will be new classes that did not exist before. These will start out in the recent changes list with an N in front of the change. These will be classes that need to be added. Others will have existed before but need to be modified. Use the (hist) link to see the full history of that class. Do compare revisions between the latest change and the last change that the NIFbot made to see what needs to be updated.You'll want to move from the oldest point in time forward, keeping track of which classes you have updated.

Some archived documents