Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Carole Goble awarded a CBE for services to science

Congratulations to Professor Carole Goble who has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to science in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

Professor Goble helped found the Journal of Web Semantics in 2003 and was an Editor in Chief and managed its editorial office from 2003 to 2008.

She is currently a full professor in the the School of Computer Science in the University of Manchester, UK, where she has co-led the Information Management Group since 1997. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New preprint: Ztreamy: a Middleware for Publishing Semantic Streams on the Web

A new preprint is available on the JWS preprint server.

Jesus Arias Fisteus, Norberto Fernandez Garcia, Luis Sanchez Fernandez and Damaris Fuentes-Lorenzo, Ztreamy: a Middleware for Publishing Semantic Streams on the Web, Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web, to appear, 2014.

Abstract: In order to make the semantic sensor Web a reality, middleware for efficiently publishing semantically-annotated data streams on the Web is needed. Such middleware should be designed to allow third parties to reuse and mash-up data coming from streams.

These third parties should even be able to publish their own value-added streams derived from other streams and static data. In this work we present Ztreamy, a scalable middleware platform for the distribution of semantic data streams through HTTP. The platform provides an API for both publishing and consuming streams, as well as built-in filtering services based on data semantics. A key contribution of our proposal with respect to other related systems in the state of the art is its scalability. Our experiments with Ztreamy show that a single server is able, in some configurations, to publish a real-time stream to up to 40000 simultaneous clients with delivery delays of just a few seconds, largely outperforming other systems in the state of the art.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New preprint: An Automatic Key Discovery Approach for Data Linking

A new preprint is available on the JWS preprint server.

Nathalie Pernelle, Fatiha Saïs and Danai Symeonidou, An Automatic Key Discovery Approach for Data Linking, Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web, to appear.

Abstract: In the context of Linked Data, different kinds of semantic links can be established between data. However when data sources are huge, detecting such links manually is not feasible. One of the most important types of links, the identity link, expresses that different identifiers refer to the same real world entity. Some automatic data linking approaches use keys to infer identity links, nevertheless this kind of knowledge is rarely available. In this work we propose KD2R, an approach which allows the automatic discovery of composite keys in RDF data sources that may conform to different schemas. We only consider data sources for which the Unique Name Assumption is fulfilled. The obtained keys are correct with respect to the RDF data sources in which they are discovered. The proposed algorithm is scalable since it allows the key discovery without having to scan all the data. KD2R has been tested on real datasets of the international contest OAEI 2010 and on data sets available on the web of data, and has obtained promising results.

Monday, September 30, 2013

New preprint: User Interfaces for Semantic Authoring of Textual Content

A new paper is available on the Journal of Web Semantics preprint server.

Ali Khalili and Sören Auer, User Interfaces for Semantic Authoring of Textual Content: a Systematic Literature Review, Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web, to appear.

Practical approaches for managing and supporting the life-cycle of semantic content on the Web of Data have recently made quite some progress. In particular in the area of the user-friendly manual and semi-automatic creation of rich semantic content we have observed recently a large number of approaches and systems being described in the literature. With this survey we aim to provide an overview on the rapidly emerging field of Semantic Content Authoring (SCA). We conducted a systematic literature review comprising a thorough analysis of 31 primary studies out of 175 initially retrieved papers addressing the semantic authoring of textual content. We obtained a comprehensive set of quality attributes for SCA systems together with corresponding user interface features suggested for their realization. The quality attributes include aspects such as usability, automation, generalizability, collaboration, customizability and evolvability. The primary studies were surveyed in the light of these quality attributes and we performed a thorough analysis of four SCA systems. The proposed quality attributes and UI features facilitate the evaluation of existing approaches and the development of novel more e ective and intuitive semantic authoring interfaces.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Four new articles on the JWS preprint server

Four new articles have been added to the Journal of Web Semantics preprint server:
Final version of the papers will be published later in 2013 and available in Elsevier's Science Direct system. Visit the in print page on the preprint server to see the current JWS articles in print.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Preprints: five papers on evaluating semantic technologies

Preprints from the Journal of Web Semantics special issue on evaluation of semantic technologies are available on the JWS preprint server.
The special issue was edited by Raúl García-Castro, Heiner Stuckenschmidt, Stuart Wrigley and Jeff Heflin.

Final version of the papers will be published in volume 20 of the journal later in 2013 and available in Elsevier's Science Direct system.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Preprint: Hidden Social Dynamics Behind Collaborative Ontology Engineering

A preprint of a new paper:
Markus Strohmaier, Simon Walk, Jan Pöschko, Daniel Lamprecht, Tania Tudorache, Csongor Nyulas, Mark A. Musen and Natalya F. Noy, How Ontologies Are Made: Studying The Hidden Social Dynamics Behind Collaborative Ontology Engineering Projects, Journal of Web Semantics, volume 20, in press, 2013.
is now available on the JWS prepreint server.

Abstract: Traditionally, evaluation methods in the field of semantic technologies have focused on the end result of ontology engineering efforts, mainly, on evaluating ontologies and their corresponding qualities and characteristics. This focus has led to the development of a whole arsenal of ontology-evaluation techniques that investigate the quality of ontologies as a product. In this paper, we aim to shed light on the process of ontology engineering construction by introducing and applying a set of measures to analyze hidden social dynamics.

We argue that especially for ontologies which are constructed collaboratively, understanding the social processes that have led to its construction is critical not only in understanding but consequently also in evaluating the ontology. With the work presented in this paper, we aim to expose the texture of collaborative ontology engineering processes that is otherwise left invisible. Using historical change-log data, we unveil qualitative differences and commonalities between different collaborative ontology engineering projects.

Explaining and understanding these differences will help us to better comprehend the role and importance of social factors in collaborative ontology engineering projects. We hope that our analysis will spur a new line of evaluation techniques that view ontologies not as the static result of deliberations among domain experts, but as a dynamic, collaborative and iterative process that needs to be understood, evaluated and managed in itself. We believe that advances in this direction would help our community to expand the existing arsenal of ontology evaluation techniques towards more holistic approaches.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

cfp: Special Issue on Ontology-Based Data Access

Special Issue of the Journal of Web Semantics on Ontology-Based Data Access

The competitiveness of many enterprises today relies on exploiting the wealth of information that is available in various distributed data sources or services. Thus, the problem of integrating data coming from many distributed and heterogeneous data sources has been a hot research topic for many years, and has received the attention of researchers in Databases, Knowledge Representation, and the Semantic Web. Furthermore, the recent utilization of “big data” in the private sector, government, and science has not only reinforced the importance of this topic but added the challenge of scaling to huge datasets.

The ontology-based data access (OBDA) paradigm was formulated a few years ago to tackle the problem of data integration, and more generally that of accessing data sources with a complex structure. The OBDA approach is based on three components: the data layer, the conceptual model of the application that is used for expressing user requests, and the mapping between the two. The data layer might consist of a single, possibly federated, database, or by a collection of possibly distributed and heterogeneous data sources (this case is also known as ontology-based data integration). The conceptual model is represented by an ontology, typically formalised in an appropriate description logic, and user requests are expressed as queries over the ontology. The mapping between the conceptual model and the data sources is formalized by mapping assertions, which are based on an appropriate logical language, but which may also incorporate extra-logical features for data manipulation.

The aim of an OBDA system is to answer user queries by transforming them into appropriate queries to the data layer, using the ontology and the mapping.
Traditionally, in OBDA, it has been assumed that data source(s) are relational, and that they are queried through SQL. However, the OBDA approach to data integration can also be used in the context of non-relational data sources e.g., XML, RDF etc. Given the recent proliferation of linked data sources and the importance of the linked paradigm for making data public, we expect to see a stronger convergence of work in these two areas.

Data exchange is another interesting paradigm closely related to OBDA. In data exchange, data that are organized according to one schema (called the source schema) need to be translated into an instance of a different schema (called the target schema), possibly equipped with constraints. The translation must respect certain dependencies that are again formalized as mappings among the two given schemas. While in OBDA the focus is on answering user queries over the conceptual model, in data exchange the aim is to understand how to materialize data in the target schema, respecting the mappings and the constraints, so as to answer queries directly using the materialized data.

This special issue will cover recent advances of the OBDA approach and its relation to other promising paradigms such as data exchange and linked data integration. Although we are interested in all aspects of the OBDA approach, including foundational work, we are also keen to attract papers that present and evaluate analytically and/or experimentally implemented OBDA systems, as well as papers that demonstrate the applicability of the OBDA paradigm to real-world situations.

Submission guidelines

The Journal of Web Semantics solicits original scientific contributions of high quality. Submission of your manuscript is welcome provided that it, or any translation of it, has not been copyrighted or published and is not being submitted for publication elsewhere. Upon acceptance of an article, the author(s) will be asked to transfer copyright of the article to the publisher. This transfer will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information. Manuscripts should be prepared for publication in accordance with instructions given in the JWS Guide for Authors. The submission and review process will be carried out using Elsevier's Web-based EES system. Final decisions of accepted papers will be approved by an editor in chief.

Final copies of accepted publications will appear in print and at the archival online server. Author preprints of the articles will be made freely accessible on the preprint server of the journal.


Important dates

  • Paper submission deadline: July 31, 2013
  • Initial notification of acceptance (approximate): end of November 2013
  • Publication in middle 2014

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Andreas Hotho is new area editor for search and datamining

Andreas Hotho is now the area editor for search and datamining for the the Journal of Web Semantics, replacing Dr. Alon Halevy of Google, who has edited this topic for the past several years.

Dr. Hotho is a professor at the University of Würzburg. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Karlsruhe, where he worked from 1999 to 2004 at the Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods in the areas of text, data, and web mining, semantic web and information retrieval.

He has published over 90 articles in journals and at conferences, co-edited several special issues and books, and co-chaired several workshops, including the Workshop on Recommender Systems and the Social Web in 2011 and 2012 held in conjunction with ACM RecSys and the ECML PKDD Discovery Challenge in 2008 and 2009. His research focuses on the combination of data mining, information retrieval and the semantic web.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CFP: Special issue on Life Science and e-Science

Call for Papers

Special issue of the Journal of Web Semantics
on Life Science and e-Science

Semantic technologies promoted by the W3C play an increasingly prominent role in how life sciences are performed. From ontologies that provide a common controlled vocabulary for describing data, to publication of data as Linked Open Data and its subsequent analysis. RDF and OWL are becoming the norm for interoperability of metadata and to some extent, data, between systems that can operate on the web. Increasingly large data sets are beginning to be tackled and made the subject of large data integration experiments. New models have been proposed that aim to capture trust and quality of data and experiments.

In the life sciences, semantic web tools and paradigms have found their way into many aspects of bio- and health informatics, with exciting applications appearing in areas ranging from plant genetics to drug discovery. Semantic technologies are becoming ever more capable of enhancing research practices in the life sciences, and thus a cornerstone for e-Science in this domain. It is also in here that many of the issues that result from putting theory to practice are encountered, making life sciences a prime driver for testing out, applying, and developing semantic technologies and e-Science.

To address the role that semantic technologies have come to play in enhancing the life sciences, and in turn acknowledging the role that this plays in maturing these technologies, we wish to publish a special issue of JWS containing novel research articles in this area. We welcome papers that demonstrate how semantic technologies enhance research, for instance by enabling intelligent search for new biological insights, or by enhancing digital research practices.
Topics of particular interest include the following.
  • Web tools based on semantic technologies that change how life scientists work (Semantic Web, Agents, Databases, High Performance reasoning, Web standards, etc.)
  • Advancements in Life Science enabled by Web Semantics
  • New ways of publishing data and methods (scholarly communication), including mechanisms of dissemination, organization, understanding and use of workflows, web services, data, and knowledge.
  • Life science information management and interoperability
  • Knowledge discovery
  • Paradigm shifts in the life sciences that result from the adoption of new standards and practices.

Important dates

  • Paper submission deadline: July 31, 2013
  • Initial notification of acceptance (approximate): November 2013
  • Preprints online: December 2013
  • Publication in early 2014

Guest editors

  • Tim Clark, Massachusets General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, University of Manchester (twclark at partners.org)
  • Marco Roos, Leiden University Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, NBIC (M.Roos1 at uva.nl)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Preprint: natural language interfaces for querying ontologies

A new paper is available on the Journal of Web Semantics preprint server.

Improving habitability of natural language interfaces for querying ontologies with feedback and clarifcation dialogues, Danica Damljanovic, Milan Agatonovic, Hamish Cunningham and Kalina Bontcheva, to appear, 2013.

Natural Language Interfaces (NLIs) are a viable, human-readable alternative to complex, formal query languages like SPARQL, which are typically used for accessing semantically structured data (e.g.. RDF and OWL repositories). However, in order to cope with natural language ambiguities, NLIs typically support a more restricted language. A major challenge when designing such restricted languages is habitability–how easily, naturally and effectively users can use the language to express themselves within the constraints imposed by the system. In this paper, we investigate two methods fo improving the habitability of a Natural Language Interface: feedback and clarifcation dialogues. We model feedback by showing the user how the system interprets the query,thus suggesting repair through query reformulation. Next, we investigate how clarifcation dialogues can be used to control the query interpretations generated by the system. To reduce the cognitive overhead, clarifcation dialogues are coupled with a learning mechanism. Both methods are shown to have a positive effect on the overall performance and habitability.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

JWS volume 17 preprints available

Preprints from volume 17 of the Journal of Web Semantics are available at and include two research papers and two ontology papers.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New JWS area editors and editorial board members

The Journal of Web Semantics is pleased to announce new area editors and editorial board members. Area editors oversee important subtopics in the journal's scope -- soliciting and encouraging submissions, managing the reviewing process and recommending decisions. Editorial board members provide advice on directions and policies for the Journal and serve as expert reviewers for submitted papers.

Joining the Journal as area editors are:
Stepping down as area editors are Peter Mika (Yahoo! Research), mc schraefel (University of Southampton) and M. Schroeder (Technische Universität Dresden). We thank them for their years of service to the Journal and semantic web research community as area editors.

Joining the editorial board are Lalana Kagal (MIT) and Bijan Parsia (University of Manchester). Guss Schreiber, who was one of the original members of the editorial board, is stepping down after ten years of service.