I-Semantics, September 2010, Graz/Austria

Call for Papers

I-Semantics 2010: 6th International Conference on Semantic Systems
Graz, Austria, 1 – 3 September 2010 http://www.i-semantics.at

Call for Submission
3rd Triplification Challenge

I-SEMANTICS 2010 (www.i-semantics.at) is the 6th conference in the I-SEMANTICS series
and provides a forum for academic and industrial research & development that focuses on
semantic technologies and the Semantic Web. I-SEMANTICS 2010 will bring together both
researchers and practitioners in the areas of Linked Data, Social Software and the Semantic
Web in order to present and develop innovative ideas that help realising the “Social Semantic
Web” and the “Corporate Semantic Web”.
I-SEMANTICS 2010 will be the host of this year`s regional Pragmatic Web Conference as
well as the third edition of the TRIPLIFICATION Challenge. Further on I-SEMANTICS will
be complemented by I-KNOW (www.i-know.at), the 10th International Conference on
Knowledge Management. This setup is aiming to reflect the increasing importance and
convergence of knowledge management and semantic systems.

Important Dates
• Paper Submission Deadline: 8 March 2010
• Notification of Acceptance: to be announced
• Camera-Ready Paper: to be announced
• I-SEMANTICS 2010: 1–3 September 2010

Why mockups are essential for semantic applications design

Applications based on semantic technologies offer new ways to discover, browse and explore information – this is for sure. But how can we (as a semantic web “insider”) explain these potential benefits to a typical end-user, who has never heard anything about “faceted search” before (which doesn´t mean that he wouldn´t love intelligent user interfaces if they were in place)?

The answer are mockups (in a sense of prototyping user interfaces). Although even Google has started recently to implement a little bit semantics by offering auto-complete functionality on google.com (on some local versions like google.at this feature is still not available) most basic concepts for an intelligent search interface are still not common sense.

We are that googlized that nearly none of us can think of different ways of searching for information than Google has offered for many years now: Put a couple of words in a text box, click a button and scroll through a list of headers and abstracts. Repeat that until you´re done. Wow!

Of course, many people get irritated instantly by complex user interfaces like David Huynh´s Freebase Parallax. “That´s only for experts!” is their response. But in a corporate setting complex queries belong to our daily business – they are just not supported by common search engines (only exception are data mining solutions). But that doesn´t necessarily mean that we wouldn´t need it.

Where is the way out of this dilemma?

  • Explain to the end-users how semantic technologies can enhance search & browse experiences
  • Do not use terms like SPARQL or RDF
  • Create a simple mockup to explain it
  • You´re not a designer? Use tools like Balsamiq – Try it now!

Here is an example for a mockup of a semantically enhanced expert finder:

These kind of mockups are essential for any requirements engineering phase in any project where search is a bit more than a text-box, a button and a bunch of documents.

Natural language search – a new breakthrough?

While I am still waiting for an invitation from Twine  (probably you too?) I have received one from Powerset – natural language search. Powerset obviously is a promising company (and is promising a lot), so I was excited when I was starting to play around with this new tool which still isn´t available for the public.

The very first impression was good. The interface is well done and there are a couple of new ideas how wikipedia (and similar knowledge bases) can be navigated in the future. But unfortunately after a while it was clear, that search results must be improved. However Powerset might be implemented, the only benchmark which counts at the end is, which improvement the new application (semantic web or not) delivers compared to existing ones. Some examples:

– The question: “who is the president of the united states?” delivers some similar questions or related articles of wikipedia but NOT the right answer.

In comparison: ask.com delivers this perfect result.

– My next question “where was mozart born?” delivers “Getreidegasse” which is correct but actually too much detailed. Again, ask.com delivers the perfect answer.

A third try which was an even more difficult question: “how far is london from paris?” was again correctly answered by ask.com, powerlabs wasn´t even close…

When I was asking START, the world’s first Web-based question answering system, which has been on-line and continuously operating since December, 1993 (!) those three questions – all of them – were answered correctly.

So finally I was asking something really tricky: “What is the relationship between RDF and XML?”: Only START gave the right answer which was: “Unfortunately, I don’t have that information.”

“Knowledge Relationship Discovery” with Google

One of the most important class of applications within the semantic web are services which help users to find out “hidden” relationships between resources like people, concepts or documents.

I´ve been trying out Google Sets from time to time which was an always impressive application to me. You enter one or more members (eg. persons, companies, technologies etc.) from the same class of your choice and Google “predicts” what else could fit into this set.

To me it seems like this service has been improved constantly in the last few months. If you type in just one member of an imaginary class like a person´s name you´ll see that Google has not only categorized search phrases but also knows a lot about social relationships.

http://labs.google.com/sets?hl=en&q1=andreas+blumauer – wow, Google knows a lot about my social network…

Yet another search interface for wikipedia?

It has always been worth using exalead from time to time to “exalead” (somehow that verb isn´t that popular as “to google”) one´s favourite search phrases (you usually type in when you start your computer in the morning ;-). That´s because exalead finds sometimes really “new” websites for you when you´re a regular google-user. So, until now exalead was rather interesting as an alternative like alcohol-free beer – give it a chance!

Now there is a reason to go to exalead: Try out exalead´s search over wikipedia and you will have a similiar experience as you have with dbpedia.

You´ll be able to refine your search phrase, therefore exalead offers even typed tagclouds (different colors mean different types of associations, like people or places). A nice Web 2.0-like GUI and high performance convinces finally.

One last question: What if dbpedia and exalead would combine their different approaches (dbpedia tripled wikipedia, exalead still remains in the area of automatic text-extraction) to put even more semantics into wikipedia?

Meaning-based search engine

The recently published Top 100 Alternative Search Engines are mainly covering bad copies of Google. The reason is, that (1) no semantics/meaning of the content is being extracted by most of the “alternatives” and (2) they don´t focus on special domains. Therefore Google won´t be topped in the next few years… But, if you take a look at Cognition Search you will find a really interesting new way to search for information (or is it at this stage even knowledge?): First you can select a special domain, you want to search in, second you can select resources and then a really helpful way to formulate your search phrase will amaze you…