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 W├╝rzburg. 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
  • Marco Roos, Leiden University Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, NBIC (M.Roos1 at

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.