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SWAD-Europe newsletter, January 2004

From: Libby Miller <Libby.Miller@bristol.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 15:38:17 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-esw-news@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0402031342300.2806@mail.ilrt.bris.ac.uk>

SWAD-Europe Newsletter, January 2004

Welcome to the first SWAD-Europe newsletter.

SWAD-Europe (Semantic Web Advanced Development in Europe) is an
EU-funded project which aims to support W3C's Semantic Web initiative
in Europe, providing targeted research, demonstrations and outreach to
ensure Semantic Web technologies move into the mainstream of networked

The newsletter is a monthly summary of work from the project and
selected Frequently Asked Questions and answers, written by a variety of
project participants.

In this issue:

1. Semantic Blogging Update
2. SWAD-Europe visits English Heritage
3. w3photo annotation work
4. Semantic Portals Update
5. Semantic Web Storage and Retrieval workshop report available

6. What can thesauri do for the web?
7. Why do rdfs:domain and rdfs:range seem to work back-to-front when
it comes to thinking about the class hierarchy?
8. Using the NodeID Attribute in RDF

More detailed discussions on these topics are available on the project


1. Semantic Blogging Update

The semantic blogging project is officially finished. Code, javadocs,
and lessons learned report are all available. However, some promising
semblogging activity continues.

Firstly, the code is being downloaded and played with. Whether this will
lead to other, "perhaps even unexpected" uses as I mentioned in the
lessons learnt report remains to be seen, but I am hopeful.

Secondly, the bibliographic metadata theme seems to have struck a chord
with people like Bruce D'Arcus, who are interested and active in the
complex world of bibliographic metadata standards

Thirdly, the ideas are being picked up by the research community, UK
Universities and even a startup (about which, perhaps, more anon). I
also have a couple of evaluation projects ongoing within HP to move
semblogging from an interesting prototype to a usable tool.

Semantic Blogging Demonstrator:
More information:

2. SWAD-Europe visits English Heritage

On the 29th of January Alistair Miles from CCLRC and Nikki Rogers from
ILRT paid a visit to Edmund Lee and the members of the Data
Standards Unit at the English Heritage National Monuments Record Centre.
The team at English Heritage have a wealth of experience about thesaurus
construction and use. The purpose of the visit was to learn from each
other, and to explore how their practical needs relate to the work of
the SWAD-Europe Thesaurus Activity.

The visit was a great success, and we were able to break ground on a
number of challenging technical issues. There emerged a clear need from
the work of English Heritage for distributed access to and development
of thesauri, for which at this time there is only a partial and rather
heavy weight solution. The development of a thesaurus service, providing
access to the functionality of a thesaurus via the internet, would be of
real benefit. We hope English Heritage will become involved in our
development and implementation of such a service, which is a key part of
the SWAD-Europe Thesaurus Activity.

Thanks to Edmund and the team for a warm welcome.

3. w3photo annotation work

As part of SWAD-Europe's dissemination efforts, and continuing on the
the theme of Image annotation from the workshop we held in June 2002, we
have been collaborating with a number of other groups on a project to
annotate photos from the WWW series of conferences. Also involved are
Greg Elin, who came up with the idea; members of the Mindswap group from
Maryland, members of the IAM group from Southampton, and others
including Jim Ley, Morten Frederiksen, Masahide Kanzaki and Benjamin
Nowack. There is a mailing list, semantic-photolist@unitboy.com, that
anyone can join, currently archived at www-archive@w3.org archives), and
we have held several IRC meetings on the #rdfig channel on freenode.

SWAD-Europe interests in this area include:

* discussing and improving vocabularies for annotating parts of an
* experimenting with using several different vocabularies together, for
example an image vocabulary with a geographical one, a vocabulary
describing people, another describing events.

Read more on the wiki:

4. Semantic Portals Update

We've started work building a prototype of our semantic portal
demonstrator as outlined in [1]. For the first prototype we've got some
data from a older UK directory of environment organizations and are
developing an appropriate set of ontologies form converting it to RDF.

Like all ontology problems, the task of defining an appropriate ontology
for environment organizations just explodes in scale and complexity as
soon as you touch it. First we just wanted a broad organizational type
but soon found that it would be useful to have a more precise ontology
for legal status. A few conversations with a lawyer led to a useable
small ontology for legal status, for the UK at least it's already too
complex to expect many users to want to work with. So we had to go back
to a simplified "colloquial" ontology for organizational type with
separate links to a more detailed legal status thesaurus. This approach
of having a coarse grained ontology which controls the main information
structure, with links to more refined thesaurus terms to fill in the
details, seems like a useful design pattern and we hope to repeat it for
other facets such as organizational activity.

On the hacking front we are putting together a data entry tool based on
a customization of our semantic blogging demonstrator - on the grounds
that blogging should be a good way to capture data. For the viewing side
we building an aggregator which can merge various semantic blogs and
other RDF sources into one repository and provide a faceted browse
interface over the repository. We've got an early version of the faceted
browse interface going, inspired by projects like Flamenco [2]. It seems
a very nice way to browse highly structured RDF data sets and might be
worth packaging up as a separate open source tool.

[1] http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe/reports/requirements_demo_2/index.html
[2] http://bailando.sims.berkeley.edu/flamenco.html

5. Semantic Web Storage and Retrieval workshop report available

SWAD-Europe Deliverable 3.11: Report on Semantic Web Storage and
Retrieval Workshop that was held 13-14 November in Amsterdam hosted
by the Vrije Universiteit is now available:


The workshop participants were mostly technical developers and
researchers from a variety of organisations mostly in industry and
education, from Greece, UK, Slovenija, the Netherlands, Italy and from
the United States. Most of the participants had practical experience in
building and deploying semantic web software and applications. The
developers of the two main RDF Java APIs were present, along with the
authors of significant APIs in perl, C, python and prolog (all of these
were primarily created in Europe).

The two main themes of the workshop were storing semantic web data and
retrieving it and the agenda was structured to cover different aspects
of both of those items. Other important topics also emerged such as
query languages and network access, both related to retrieval and issues
with implementing OWL and RDF Schema.

Frequently Asked Questions

6. What can thesauri do for the web?

Thesauri can be used to organise information in a sensible way, which in
turn helps us to find what we are looking for on the web. Richer than a
simple taxonomy, but simpler than a full blown ontology, thesauri
provide a convenient yet powerful way to achieve knowledge organisation.
Furthermore, because thesauri have been used for decades by library
scientists for the same purpose, there exist a number of extremely well
structured, well engineered thesauri in the public domain. Providing the
framework for bringing these systems on to the semantic web is a major
goal of the SWAD-Europe Thesaurus Activity.

A thesaurus also includes information about terminology, and how
different terms may be used to represent different concepts. A thesaurus
with rich terminological data can be used to support tasks such as
automated classification of documents.

Read more: http://esw.w3.org/mt/esw/archives/000037.html

7. Why do rdfs:domain and rdfs:range seem to work back-to-front when
it comes to thinking about the class hierarchy?

Because RDFS is a logic-based system. The way rdfs range and domain
declarations work is alien to anyone who thinks of RDFS and OWL as being
a bit like a type system for a programming language, especially an
object oriented language.

To expand on the problem. Suppose we have three classes:
eg:Animal eg:Human eg:Man

And suppose they are linked into the simple class hierarchy:
eg:Man rdfs:subClassOf eg:Human .
eg:Human rdfs:subClassOf eg:Animal .

Now suppose we have property eg:personalName with:
eg:personalName rdfs:domain eg:Human .

The question to ask is this: "can we deduce:
eg:personalName rdfs:domain eg:Man ?"

The answer is "no" the correct such deduction is:
eg:personalName rdfs:domain eg:Animal .

This is completely obvious to anyone who thinks about RDFS as a logic
system, however it can be surprising if you are thinking in terms of

Read more: http://esw.w3.org/mt/esw/archives/000036.html

8. Using the NodeID Attribute in RDF

This article provides an introduction to the rdf:nodeID attribute which
was introduced into the revised RDF/XML syntax by the RDFCore working
group. This explanation is intended for RDF and XML developers who have
some reasonable familiarity with RDF's XML syntax, and who want to catch
up with the new features added to RDF by the RDFCore group. It is not
intended as a general introduction to RDF syntax.

Read more: http://esw.w3.org/mt/esw/archives/000034.html

Visit the SWAD-Europe website:

and weblog:

for ongoing information about the project.
Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2004 10:42:20 UTC

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