Seed, a Natural Language Interface to Knowledge Bases

  • Bahaa EldesoukyEmail author
  • Heiko Maus
  • Sven Schwarz
  • Andreas Dengel
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9172)


The World Wide Web has been rapidly developing in the last decade. In recent years, the Semantic Web has gained a lot of traction. It is a vision of the Web where data is understandable by machines as well as humans. Developments in the Semantic Web made way for the creation of massive knowledge bases containing a wealth of structured information. However, allowing end-users to interact with and benefit from these knowledge bases remains a challenge.

In this paper, we present Seed, an extensible knowledge-supported natural language text composition tool, which provides a user-friendly way of interacting with complex knowledge systems. It is integrable not only with public knowledge bases on the Semantic Web, but also with private knowledge bases used in personal or enterprise contexts.

By means of a long-term formative user-study and a short-term user evaluation of a sizable population of test subjects, we show that Seed was successfully used in exploring, modifying and creating the content of complex knowledge bases. We show it enables end-users do so with nearly no domain knowledge while hiding the complexity of the underlying knowledge representation.


Usability Semantic Web Natural language Knowledge bases 


The work presented was partially funded by the European Commission in the context of the FP7 ICT project ForgetIT (under grant no: 600826).


  1. 1.
    Apache opennlp, October 2014. URL:
  2. 2.
    CKEditor Website, October 2014. URL:
  3. 3.
    Adrian, B., Hees, J., Herman, I., Sintek, M., Dengel, A.: Epiphany: adaptable RDFa generation linking the web of documents to the web of data. In: Cimiano, P., Pinto, H.S. (eds.) EKAW 2010. LNCS, vol. 6317, pp. 178–192. Springer, Heidelberg (2010) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Auer, S., Bryl, V., Tramp, S.: Linked Open Data-Creating Knowledge Out of Interlinked Data: Results of the LOD2 Project. LNCS, vol. 8661. Springer, Heidelberg (2014) Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Benson, E., Karger, D.R.: End-users publishing structured information on the web: an observational study of what, why, and how. In: Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1265–1274. ACM (2014)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., Lassila, O., et al.: The semantic web. Sci. Am. 284(5), 28–37 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bizer, C., Lehmann, J., Kobilarov, G., Auer, S., Becker, C., Cyganiak, R., Hellmann, S.: Dbpedia-a crystallization point for the web of data. Web Semant: Sci. Serv. Agents World Wide Web 7(3), 154–165 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bollacker, K., Evans, C., Paritosh, P., Sturge, T., Taylor, J.: Freebase: a collaboratively created graph database for structuring human knowledge. In: Proceedings of the 2008 ACM SIGMOD International Conference on Management of Data, pp. 1247–1250. ACM (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Brickley, D., Guha, R.V.: Resource description framework (rdf) schema specification 1.0: W3c candidate recommendation, 27 March 2000 (2000)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Brooke, J.: SUS: a quick and dirty usability scale. In: Jordan, P.W., Thomas, A., Weerdmeester, B.A., McClelland, I.L. (eds.) Usability Evaluation in Industry. Taylor and Francis, London (1996)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Khalili, A., Auer, S., Hladky, D.: The RDFa content editor - from WYSIWYG to WYSIWYM. In: 2012 IEEE 36th Annual Computer Software and Applications Conference (COMPSAC), pp. 531–540. IEEE (2012)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Klebeck, A., Hellmann, S., Ehrlich, C., Auer, S.: OntosFeeder – a versatile semantic context provider for web content authoring. In: Antoniou, G., Grobelnik, M., Simperl, E., Parsia, B., Plexousakis, D., De Leenheer, P., Pan, J. (eds.) ESWC 2011, Part II. LNCS, vol. 6644, pp. 456–460. Springer, Heidelberg (2011) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lassila, O., Swick, R.R., et al.: Resource description framework (rdf) model and syntax specification (1998)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Manning, C.D., Surdeanu, M., Bauer, J., Finkel, J., Bethard, S.J., McClosky, D.: The stanford coreNLP natural language processing toolkit. In: Proceedings of 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations, pp. 55–60 (2014)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sauermann, L., van Elst, L., Dengel, A.: PIMO - a framework for representing personal information models. In: Pellegrini, T., Schaffert, S. (eds.) I-SEMANTICS Conference, pp. 270–277. J.UCS, Know-Center, Graz, 5–7 September 2007Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Staab, S., Maedche, A., Handschuh, S.: Creating metadata for the semantic web - an annotation environment and the human factor. In: Institute AIFB (2000)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Thórisson, K.R., Spivack, N., Wissner, J.M.: Semcards: a new representation for realizing the semantic web. In: Nguyen, N.T., Kowalczyk, R., Chen, S.-M. (eds.) ICCCI 2009. LNCS, vol. 5796, pp. 425–436. Springer, Heidelberg (2009) Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Tramp, S., Heino, N., Auer, S., Frischmuth, P.: RDFauthor: employing RDFa for collaborative knowledge engineering. In: Cimiano, P., Pinto, H.S. (eds.) EKAW 2010. LNCS, vol. 6317, pp. 90–104. Springer, Heidelberg (2010) CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bahaa Eldesouky
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heiko Maus
    • 1
  • Sven Schwarz
    • 1
  • Andreas Dengel
    • 1
  1. 1.Knowledge Management DepartmentGerman Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH)KaiserslauternGermany

Personalised recommendations