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Re: Showing the Semantic Web

From: Jeroen van der Ham <vdham@science.uva.nl>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 10:58:28 +0100
Message-ID: <43CF62C4.9070205@science.uva.nl>
To: Emmanuel Pietriga <emmanuel.pietriga@inria.fr>
CC: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>

Emmanuel Pietriga wrote:
[snip]

> IsaViz [1] is not actually aimed at showing Semantic Web data to anybody 
> in the "real world". Its representation is too low-level for that. You 
> are right when you say GSS tries to improve this, but even with GSS [2], 
> IsaViz is still aimed at people who want to get an understanding of the 
> structure of their RDF model, and get a more graphical, node-link 
> diagram-based representation of their data. That is mostly RDF 
> *developers*.

I agree with you that currently these are too low level.
It might be my application domain, but I feel that it is important that 
the structure I am putting into an RDF graph can be viewed as a simple 
graph as well. I have a feeling that anything that is put into an RDF 
graph has an underlying abstract graph that can be used to display the 
data in a good way and show people that you are really bringing order 
into chaos.

Take for example FOAF, you would really want to do something similar as 
foafnaut: if something is a foaf:Person, has a foaf:name and 
foaf:depiction, then use that foaf:depiction as icon and use foaf:name 
as label.
If you then only show foaf:knows relationships as big fat arrows, then 
you can easily explore the whole graph and show the underlying structure.

> For applications that try to present Semantic Web data and reach a broader audience, take a look at the various tools developed within the Simile project [3] such as Longwell and Piggy bank.  Other interesting tools out there include Haystack [4], mSpace [5] and Noadster [6]. 

The problem with most of these applications are that they use the 
structured knowledge in the background to provide a clear view of (parts 
of) the data. Now this is very interesting for us as RDF developers, you 
aren't going to win over Joe Smith who doesn't care how the data got 
onto his screen, just that he can see it. And to him there is no 
difference between some large database that uses complex queries and 
some RDF that does the same thing in a simpler way.

RDF gives you underlying structure of the knowledge you are describing. 
I firmly believe that we should leverage that underlying structure to 
display this to the user and allow him to more intuitively explore the 
data represented to him.
This is where RDF has a clear edge over huge databases with complex 
queries. An application leveraging this structure can be adapted to a 
new namespace, while it takes a lot of programming to be able to do that 
for large databases.

Jeroen.
Received on Thursday, 19 January 2006 09:58:35 UTC

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