Reasoning Web pp 171-199 | Cite as

Applications of Semantic Web Methodologies and Techniques to Social Networks and Social Websites

  • Sheila Kinsella
  • John G. Breslin
  • Alexandre Passant
  • Stefan Decker
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5224)


One of the most visible trends on the Web is the emergence of “Social Web” sites which facilitate the creation and gathering of knowledge through the simplification of user contributions via blogs, tagging and folksonomies, wikis, podcasts, and the deployment of online social networks. The Social Web has enabled community-based knowledge acquisition with efforts like the Wikipedia demonstrating the “wisdom of the crowds” in creating the world’s largest online encyclopaedia. Although it is difficult to define the exact boundaries of what structures or abstractions belong to the Social Web, a common property of such sites is that they facilitate collaboration and sharing between users with low technical barriers, although usually on single sites. As more social websites form around the connections between people and their objects of interest, and as these “object-centred networks” grow bigger and more diverse, more intuitive methods are needed for representing and navigating the content items in these sites: both within and across social websites. Also, to better enable user access to multiple sites, interoperability among social websites is required in terms of both the content objects and the person-to-person networks expressed on each site. This requires representation mechanisms to interconnect people and objects on the Social Web in an interoperable and extensible way. The Semantic Web provides such representation mechanisms: it can be used to link people and objects by representing the heterogeneous ties that bind us all to each other (either directly or indirectly). In this paper, we will describe methods that build on agreed-upon Semantic Web formats to describe people, content objects, and the connections that bind them together explicitly or implicitly, enabling social websites to interoperate by appealing to some common semantics. We will also focus on how developers can use the Semantic Web to augment the ways in which they create,reuse, and link content on social networking sites and social websites.


Social web Semantic Web social networks social media FOAF SIOC object-centred networks 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila Kinsella
    • 1
  • John G. Breslin
    • 1
  • Alexandre Passant
    • 2
  • Stefan Decker
    • 1
  1. 1.DERINational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.LaLICUniversité Paris-SorbonneFrance

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