Linking Semantically-Enabled Online Community Sites

Andreas Harth, John G. Breslin, Ina O'Murchu, Stefan Decker
Digital Enterprise Research Institute
National University of Ireland, Galway
University Road
Galway, Ireland


Online community sites have replaced the traditional means of keeping a community informed via libraries and publishing. At present, online communities are islands that are not interlinked. We describe different types of online communities and tools that are currently used to build and support such communities. Ontologies and semantic web technologies offer an upgrade path to providing more complex services. Fusing information and inferring links between the various applications and types of information provides relevant insights that make the available information on the Internet more valuable. We present the SIOC ontology which combines terms from vocabularies that already exist with new terms needed to describe the relationships between concepts in the realm of online community sites.


2.6 Wikis

A wiki, a collaboratively edited website, allows a community open read and write access to a database of pages on a site, even if a user is not the originator of the material being edited. Users can create new pages or change existing pages easily via a web-based interface. The original WikiWikiWeb did not have any access control, and anybody could participate in the live editing of pages. This flexibility can either be successful in a busy community or disastrous in an indifferent community (where anonymous users can vandalise or make unwanted changes to a wiki set). Many wikis now feature a version control system so that rollback to a previous version can be employed, and in a busy community any important deleted pages will normally reappear.

A good example of the power of collaborative editing on a site is the Wikipedia: a multi-language, open-content encyclopedia that is collaboratively edited by "netizens" and hosted on a wiki-based system. Wikis are suitable for exporting metadata in semi-structured format since the wiki pages are normally already stored in a database. Some wikis provide RSS newsfeeds describing changes or additions, and projects like Platypus Wiki are aimed at producing wiki pages and rich metadata for these pages.


SWAD-Europe deliverable 12.1.8: SWAD-E Demonstrators - Lessons Learnt

Dave Reynolds, HP Laboratories, Bristol, UK
Steve Cayzer, HP Laboratories, Bristol, UK
Paul Shabajee, Graduate School of Education and ILRT, Bristol, UK
Damian Steer, (Contractor) HP Laboratories, Bristol, UK

Abstract This report provides an overall summary and update on the SWAD-E open demonstrators work package 12.1. The report serves three purposes. First, it provides a short summary of the two demonstrators produced within the work package. Second, it provides an update on changes in the first demonstrator, semantic blogging, since the time the demonstrator report was written. Third, it draws some overall conclusions from the experiences of developing the demonstrators.


Relevant tools and developments

We have been tracking recent semantic blogging related developments, some of which are briefly described below.

  • Platypus ( is a semantic wiki . Like other wikis, it offers a simple user interface to create a web page but enables the user to add RDF metadata. The idea of extending semantic blogging ideas to other tools is one that has also occurred to us, and in fact we are using a simple semantic wiki in our department. The key (just as in the blog) is to provide the user with a low cost (ideally zero cost) way to enrich content with useful metadata. This is achieved here through a wiki like syntax (in Platypus, the convention namespace:pagename).
  • [...]


Social Software Towards 'A Semantic Federated Model'

David Norheim
July 2004, @semantics - Leaders in Enterprise Information Integration

4.2 Towards semantic blogs - where people and information meet

Blogs also have lots to gain from the social networks. Weblogs create two way awareness and a precise accounting of the relations between authors is possible as bloggers notify another blog when a resource was cited or passed along. The use of RDF formats for RSS feeds also allows for an extensibility including FOAF profiles within the RSS feed itself, who authored the article, who commented on it etc. HP has made a prototype of what a semantic web log can look like.
While not as mature as blogs, semantic wikis are also starting to appear [21]. These wikis will generate metadata with the creation of information making it more searchable and accurate.


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