Towards Semantic Mapping for Casual Web Users

  • Colm Conroy
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5318)


The Semantic Web approach is becoming established in specific application domains, however there has been as yet no uptake within the mainstream internet environment [1]. The reasons for the lack of uptake of the semantic web amongst casual web users can be attributed to technology perception, comprehensibility and ease of use. It is perceived that the creation of ontologies is a top-down and complex process, whereas in reality ontologies can emerge bottom-up and be simple. Ontology technology is based on formal logics that are not understandable for ordinary people. Finally there is significant overhead for a user in the creation of metadata for information resources in accordance with ontologies. To address these three problems, it is proposed that the interfaces to semantic web tools will need to be engineered in such a way that the tools become simplified, disappear into the background, and become more engaging for casual web users. Increasingly techniques from the semantic desktop research community will enable the creation of a personal ontology on behalf of a user. Although the automatic and efficient matching between the personal ontology and the models used by others (for example through the use of collaborative tags, community ontologies) can be achieved through the application of a variety of matching techniques [2], fully automatic derivation of mappings from the resultant set of candidate matches is considered impossible as yet [3]. A mapping can be thought of as the expression of a confirmed correspondence (e.g. equivalence, subclass, some arbitrary formula). The correspondence could be derived perhaps using machine learning approaches but is typically derived by a human. The majority of state of the art tools in the ontology mapping area [4] and the community ontology creation area [5] rely on a classic presentation of the class hierarchy of two ontologies side by side and some means for the user to express the mappings. These approaches predominately assume that the mapping is being undertaken by an expert: who does not require a personalised interface; whose explicit task is to generate a “one size fits all” full mapping (to be used in common by several applications); and who typically undertakes the task during a small number of long sessions. The number of user trials that have taken place have also been small [6] and those that have, have focused purely on the mapping effectiveness and do not address usability issues (an exception recently being that of [7]). In contrast to the semantic web, ‘Web 2.0’ has seen an explosion in uptake within the mainstream internet environment [8]. Some of the main characteristics of ‘Web 2.0’ are rich user experience, user participation and collective intelligence [9]. We intend to take user-driven methodologies that exist within ‘Web 2.0’ to semantic mapping. We propose that the casual web users who will benefit from mappings (through usage by their applications), will undertake themselves partial targeted mappings, gradually and over time, using techniques that address usability issues, support personalization and enable control of the mapping interactions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colm Conroy
    • 1
  1. 1.Knowledge and Data Engineering GroupTrinity College DublinIreland

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