Information visualisation workshop

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Semantic Web Technologies

22-23 November 2000, Luxembourg

Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme

Key Action III: Multimedia Content and Tools

Area 4: Information Access, Filtering, Analysis and Handling


Directorate-General Information Society

Information Society Technologies: Content, Multimedia Tools and Markets

Management of information and content,
including the Action Plan on illegal and harmful content on the Internet

Table of Contents

(Please be advised that the presentations are copyrighted to their respective owners)

Table of Contents 3

(Please be advised that the presentations are copyrighted to their respective owners) 3

Introduction 5

Invited talks 7

Beyond RDF(S): the Ontology perspective for the Semantic Web (Rudi Studer, University of Karlsruhe and ontoprise GmbH) 7

Semantics for the wireless Web (Johan Hjelm, Ericsson) 7

Describing multimedia (Wolfgang Klas, University of Vienna) 7

Multimedia for the Semantic Web (Lynda Hardman, CWI) 7

Agents on the Semantic Web (David De Roure, University of Southampton) 8

Business opportunities on the Semantic Web (Janne Saarela, ProSolutions, Nice) 8

Short presentations 8

On-to-Knowledge: Content-driven knowledge-management through evolving ontologies (Dieter Fensel, Free University of Amsterdam) 8

OIL: an ontology language for the Semantic Web (Ian Horrocks, University of Manchester) 8

Conceptual open hypermedia: informed WWW link navigation using ontologies (Carole Goble, University of Manchester) 8

Enabling technologies for semantic interoperability (Jérôme Euzenat, INRIA Rhône-Alpes) 9

Objectifying the Web the "light" way: an RDF-based framework for the description of Web objects and services (Pasqualino Assini, The Data Archive - University of Essex) 9

Querying RDF using an SQL-ish query language (Libby Miller, ILRT, University of Bristol) 10

Defining and managing semantics and datatypes - Is there a role for ISO 13250 Topic Maps? (Martin Bryan, The SGML Centre) 10

Notion System (R.A. Poell, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)) 11

The OpenMath project (Mike Dewar, NAG Ltd) 11

An e-commerce platform for complex configurable products and services (Jürgen Nicklisch-Franken, Persist AG; Heinz Schweppe, FU Berlin) 11

Inferential semantics for networked image data: supporting the derivation and management of semantic attributes for Web-based multimedia content (Harold Boley, DFKI, and Jos De Roo, AGFA) 11

Inducing Semantics from Structures (Paolo Avesani, ITC-IRST) 12

Teachware on demand - the role of semantic annotations for individualised courses (Peter Fankhauser, GMD-IPSI) 12

Semantic user and content modeling for an adaptive distance learning environment (Luca Botturi, Universita della Svizzera Italiana) 12

Open Learning Repository: a project idea in the field of computer science and cognitive science (Heidrun Allert, University of Hannover) 13

PhotoRDF and rdfpic,an application of RDF to holiday photos (Bert Bos, W3C/INRIA) 13

A tool for pictorial contents retrieval (Zdenek Mikovec, Czech Technical University) 13

Semantics for voice recognition systems - a project idea (Christian Gronoff, Semiosphere) 13

Knowledge based indexing (Ralph Traphoener, tecinno GmbH) 14

OntoMap: facilitating easier access, understanding and comparison of the existing upper-level models (Cyc, SENSUS, WordNet, EuroWordnet, SIMPLE, GUM) (Atanas Kiryakov, OntoText Lab., Sirma AI Ltd. ) 14

Semantic interoperability in agentspace (Stanislaw Ambroszkiewicz, Institute of Computer Science Polish Academy of Sciences) 14

Non-holistic agents (Patrick De Causmaecker, KaHo Sint-Lieven) 15

Visual data navigation in Web documents (Mikael Jern, Advanced Visual Systems Aps and Linkoping University) 15

Visual modelling and the Web: conceptual browsing with Conzilla (Mikael Nilsson, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden) 17

RSS 1.0 and its taxonomy module: bringing metadata back into RSS (Eric van der Vlist, DYOMEDEA) 17

Written contributions 17

Ontology based access to digital libraries (Sonia Bergamaschi, DSI - Universita di Modena e Reggio-Emilia, Fausto Rabitti, CNUCE-CNR) 17

XCC - eXtensible Computation Context (Antonio Capani, Explo-IT Research) 18

An ontology for planning applications (Peter Demeester, KaHo Sint-Lieven) 18

OntoWeb - Ontology-based information exchange for Knowledge Management and electronic commerce (Dieter Fensel, Free University of Amsterdam) 19

Self-Organizing Maps for Knowledge Management (Timo Honkela, Gurusoft Oy) 20

Web access to real time and numeric data (Web-SCADA) (David: Leal, CAESAR Systems Limited) 20

Web and text mining through the Online Analyst (Alessandro Zanasi, IBM) 20

ANNEX1: Business opportunities on the Semantic Web - slide texts (Janne Saarela, ProSolutions, Nice) 22

ANNEX 2: Workshop Programme 24

ANNEX 3: List of participants 26

ANNEX 4: Excerpt from the draft IST Work Programme 2001 29

ANNEX 5: Contacts in the European Commission, Information Society DG, Directorate D, Unit 5 (DG INFSO/D5): 30


Multimedia Content and Tools’ is the theme of Key Action III of the European Commission’s IST (Information Society Technologies) Programme 1998-2002.

Multimedia content has many, largely application domain specific facets pertaining for instance to:

  • education and training,

  • information services,

  • entertainment (games, interactive digital TV, etc.).

It may also serve specific or general purposes such as

  • preservation of intellectual and cultural heritage (including fragile materials) traditionally kept in archives, libraries and museums,

  • support to a range of tasks carried out by professionals: engineers, architects, scientists, medical doctors, surgeons, etc.;

  • enhancing workflow (including CSCW), transaction oriented (e.g. e-commerce) and other systems.

Tools are needed to perform operations on content, such as: creation, description, annotation storage, management, manipulation, analysis, search, access, retrieval, communication, presentation … . Many if not all of these tasks are to a greater or lesser extent generic, i.e. independent of any given content application domain.

Areas 1 (Interactive Publishing and Digital Culture) and 2 (Education and Training) of Key Action III are mainly content related and address application specific aspects, whereas Areas 3 (Human Language Technologies) and 4 (Information Access, Filtering, Analysis and Handling or IAF, for short) provide the more generic underpinning, focusing on the 'tools' part of the overall agenda of Key Action III.

Area 4 (IAF) in particular, has been defined to include

advanced technologies for the management of information content to empower the user to select, receive and manipulate (in a manner that respects the user’s right to privacy) only the information required when faced with an ever increasing range of heterogeneous sources. Improvements in the key functionalities of large-scale multimedia asset management systems (including the evolution of the World Wide Web) will support the cost effective delivery of information services and their usage.

The Council Decision establishing the IST Programme describes the IAF RTD priorities as follows:

mastering information: rich descriptive models of digital information content, covering all media types and supporting all human senses, …,radically new cognitive relations between the system and users via individualised metaphors or visualisation techniques …

Semantic Web Technologies’, the IAF Action Line in the IST Work Programme 2001, translates this mandate into an agenda which picks up on ideas that have been looming for a number of years and that have received their perhaps greatest push from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). An informal paper published on the Web in September 1998, by Tim Berners-Lee, entitled "Semantic Web Road Map", and a more formal note on "Web Architecture: Describing and Exchanging Data" (June 1999) may be considered the seminal documents.

'Making content machine-understandable' is a popular paraphrase of the intentions behind the Semantic Web. In spite of its potential philosophical ramifications, however, this phrase should be taken very pragmatically: content (of whatever type of media) is 'machine understandable' if it is bound (attached, pointing, etc.) to some formal description of itself (often referred to as metadata). Ideally, adding 'semantics to content' in this sense should be achieved through algorithmic content analysis.

'Machine understanding' is not an end in itself. Rather, it should lead to automating a range of tasks within the context of distributed systems (such as the Web): from (chains of) business transactions to searching and filtering relevant and trustable information on whatever subject a user may be interested in. The kind of software performing such tasks is commonly known as 'agents', decorated with varying attributes and qualifications, such as information, intelligent, autonomous, cooperative, adaptive, rational, mobile, etc.

Lastly, human users should be able to interact with their agents (or directly with content) in an intuitively appealing fashion. Visual and/or virtual reality metaphors are perhaps the most likely candidates for representing the semantics of Web content at the man-machine interface (to make, in a manner of speaking, machine-understandable content understandable to humans) and for providing new ways of navigation and search.

The above considerations underly the structure of the 'Semantic Web Technologies' action line, as defined in the draft IST Work Programme 2001 (cf. Annex 3). Indeed, its four strands may be characterized roughly as: formalizing (using XML, RDF and other techniques for semantic interoperability and reasoning such as ontology languages), grounding (formalisms through content analysis), acting (to support knowledge / resource discovery, transactions, intelligent filtering and profiling, collaborative filtering, knowledge sharing) and interacting (e.g. through intuitive visual interfaces).

It relies on knowledge and know-how gained in various Computer Science subdisciplines such as formal modelling, formal logics and formal languages, information retrieval, (multimedia) databases, knowledge engineering, image analysis, etc. Where interoperability (e.g. among information agents) is concerned there is a strong case for agreeing on Web wide standards.

With its focus on Web technologies this new action line takes account of the fact that the rapid growth of the World Wide Web stimulates and motivates R&D opening up new ways of managing multimedia content (primarily images, video and audio but of course also text and plain data) and its delivery via stationary and (increasingly) mobile platforms. It is designed with a view to giving these developments more momentum by creating synergies between hitherto relatively separate R&D (and standards) communities, both in industry and academic/public research.

The IST Key Action III initiative in this field is certainly not isolated or unique. Other IST Key Actions, in particular II (New Methods of Work and Electronic Commerce) and IV (Essential Technologies and Infrastructures), are contributors (and are in fact already hosting relevant projects such as IBROW or ONTOKNOWLEDGE). Yet our initiative may differ from other, similar ones (outside Europe or in individual EU Member States) in that it is slightly broader and more open to knowledge management, multimedia and interface issues.

This workshop may be considered a first test of our agenda and it is heartening to see that our Call for Participation has met with a response well beyond initial expectations, both in terms of number of participants and number of proposed presentations of projects and project ideas. Equally remarkable is the mix of different interests represented. It not only reflects the various aspects of our ‘Semantic Web Technologies’ action line, but also its potential for further research and for viable business applications of current and future developments.

It should be noted that this is just a beginning. Discussions have started on the next European RTD framework programme. We believe that the technologies addressed by this workshop will become crucial for the development and exploitation of digital content in an increasingly networked world. And we are confident that the contributions to this workshop, the ones actually presented and the ones made only in writing, provide enough substance to justify a prominent place for these technologies in any future IST programme.


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