Semantic Technologies for Collaboration




With distributed information systems and the Internet continually increasing in significance, collaboratively creating and managing information has become an essential requirement for the success of virtual organizations. This situation has led to a plethora of platforms supporting cooperation as well as joint information access among geographically dispersed user communities that have emerged in the last decades: collaborative information spaces, telecooperation, autonomous agents or, more recently, various Web-related forms of communication and cooperation such as discussion forums, community portals, Wikis and blogs.

A fundamental requirement for an effective collaboration is the availability of technologies and tools which provide an explicit and unambiguous representation of the shared information and a feasible management of such semantics-enhanced information repositories.  The emergence of the Semantic Web has marked an important stage in the evolution of semantic technologies. In this context the knowledge components i.e. ontologies are formalized using Web-suitable, but in the same time semantically unambiguous representation languages, are accessible and can be shared and reused across the World Wide Web. 

The Semantic Web offers new opportunities for the next generation of collaborative applications: it provides us with novel means to classify information items i.e. by means of ontologies which formally represent the consensual understanding of the application users w.r.t. a particular domain of interest. Taking advantage of this technology, the first promising implementations of Semantic Web-based collaboration platforms such as Semantic Web portals, semantic Wikis and blogs, to name only a few, have been proposed. 

This site collects our recent research on Semantic Technologies for Collaboration. Of interest to us are methodologies for collaboratively creating and managing shared information, collaborative ontology engineering, semantic collaboration applications, collaborative Semantic Web portals, semantic community support systems, semantic Wikis, Semantic Blogging, Semantic Mindmapping and Conceptmapping, case studies, lessons learned and experience reports on semantics-aware collaborative applications and studies on the value added to collaboration by semantic technologies.

Activities

Results

  • Makna, a semantic wiki as an extension of JSPwiki
  • Lekapidia, a semantic wiki for keeping recipes. Implemented as an extension of mediawiki
Papers
  • Robert Tolksdorf, Elena Paslaru Bontas Simperl: Towards Wikis as Semantic Hypermedia
    Similarly to theWeb Wikis have advanced from initially simple ad-hoc solutions to highly popular systems of widespread
    use. This evolution is reflected by the impressive number of Wiki engines available and by the numerous settings and disciplines they have found applicability to in the last decade. In conjunction to these rapid advances the question on the fundamental principles underlying the design and the architecture of Wiki technologies becomes inevitable for their systematic further development and their long-lasting success at public, private and corporate level. This paper aims at be part of this endeavor; building upon the natural relationship between Wikis and hypermedia, we examine to
    which extent the current state of the art in the field (complemented by results achieved in adjacent communities such as the World Wide Web and the Semantic Web) fulfills the requirements of modern hypermedia systems. As a conclusion of the study we outline further directions of research and development which are expected to contribute to the realization of this vision.
    Submitted to WikiSym2006, 4/06
  • Karsten Dello, Elena Paslaru Bontas Simperl, and Robert Tolksdorf: Creating and using Semantic Web information with Makna
    Combining Wiki and Semantic Web technologies is considered by many members of the two communities as a promising alternative to current approaches for collaboratively creating and using information on the Web. The user-friendliness of the former as regarding multi-site content generation and the power of semantic technologies as w.r.t. organizing and retrieving knowledge are likely to complement one another towards a new generation of Web-based content management systems. Our system Makna (stands for “knowledge” in Indonesian) elaborates on this ideas by extending the Wiki engine JSPWiki with generic, easy-to-use ontology-based components for authoring, querying and browsing Semantic Web information.
    Accepted for Semwiki06