Ontolog Forum

SemanticWiki mini-series (session-1) Launch Event - Thu 23-Oct-2008

  • Mini-Series Title: Semantic Wikis: The Wiki Way to the Semantic Web
  • Session-1 Topic: A Survey of the Landscape and State-of-Art in Semantic Wiki
  • Session Co-chairs:
    • Dr. SebastianSchaffert (Salzburg Research, Austria) and Mr. MaxVoelkel (FZI, Karlsruhe)

Conference Call Details

  • Date: Thursday, October 23, 2008
  • Start Time: 10:30 AM PDT / 1:30 PM EDT / 7:30pm CEST / 17:30 UTC
  • Expected Call Duration: ~1.5~2.0 hours
  • Dial-in Numbers:
    • Skype:
    • from a US telephone (US): +1-218-486-3600
    • use Conference ID: "4389979#"
    • from Europe, call:
      • Austria 0820-4000-1577
      • Belgium 070-35-9992
      • France 0826-100-280
      • Germany 01805-00-7642
      • Ireland 0818-270-037
      • Italy 0848-390-179
      • Spain 0902-886-056
      • Switzerland 0848-560-327 or 0848-414-110
      • UK 0870-738-0765
    • callers from other countries please dial into either one of the US or European numbers
  • Shared-screen support (VNC session), if applicable, will be started 5 minutes before the call at:
    • view-only password: "ontolog"
    • if you plan to be logging into this shared-screen option (which the speaker may be navigating), and you are not familiar with the process, please try to call in 5 minutes before the start of the session so that we can work out the connection logistics. Help on this will generally not be available once the presentation starts.
    • people behind corporate firewalls may have difficulty accessing this. If that is the case, please either use the version published on SlideShare or download the PowerPoint slides and running them locally. The speaker(s) will prompt you to advance the slides during the talk.
  • Please note that this session will be recorded, and the audio archive is expected to be made available as open content to our community membership and the public at-large under our prevailing open IPR policy.


  • Registered attendees who may have joined after the roll call:
    • ... to register for participation, please add your name (plus your affiliation, if you aren't already a member of the community) above, or e-mail <> so that we can reserve enough resources to support everyone's participation. ...
  • Regrets:

Session Abstract: A Survey of the Landscape and State-of-Art in Semantic Wiki

In this launch session, we will ...

  • Officially launch this mini-series, and outline what people could be expecting from the program. This is essentially culled from the input received from the community on our ConferenceCall_2008_09_18 planning session
  • hear from our co-chairs on (a) some background and history on Semantic Wikis, (b) perspectives gained from SemWiki 2006 & 2008, and (c) where they feel things are going (trends, directions, future scenarios) in the semantic wiki space.
  • continue to solicit ideas and input to help enhance the program (as part of the open discussion after the prepared talks).

See also: the developing SemanticWiki home page for this mini-series project.

Announcing: the Birds-of-a-Feather Meeting at ISWC (Karlsruhe, Germany) on Sunday 26 Oct 2008 (as discussed in the previous call)

Agenda & Proceedings

  • Session Format: this is a virtual session conducted over an augmented conference call.
  • Agenda:
    • 1. Opening by the Session co-chair
    • 2. we'll go around with a self-introduction of participants (~15 minutes) - All - we may skip this if we have more than 25 participants (in which case, it will be best if members try to update their namesake pages on this wiki prior to the call so that everyone can get to know who's who more easily.)
    • 3. Presentations - Max Voelkel & Sebastian Schaffert (30 min. each)
    • 4. Open Discussion - ALL (~30 min.)
    • 5. Summary / Announcement / Conclusion - session co-chair

Presentation Material

  • Additional Resources from the presenters:
    • see developing ideas on the upcoming program for this SemanticWiki mini-series at: SemanticWiki/Prep
    • KiWi prototype - for demonstrating some of the trends discussed in the presentation
    • KiWi Vision - detailing many ideas and future trends for Semantic Wikis
    • (please insert additional reference material and links here)

Questions, Answers & Discourse

  • (Unless the conference host has already muted everyone) Please mute your phone, by pressing "*2" on your phone keypad, when the talk is in progress.
  • If you want to speak or have questions or remarks to make, please "raise your hand (virtually)" using the chat tools (below). You may speak when acknowledged by the session moderator. Unmute your phone, by pressing "*3", Test your voice and introduce yourself first before proceeding with your remarks. (Mute your phone, "*2" again after that, please.)
  • You can also type in your questions or comments through the browser based chat session by:
    • pointing a separate browser tab (or window) to and enter: Room="ontolog_20081023" and My Name="Your Own Name (in WikiWord format" (e.g. "JaneDoe")
    • or point your browser to:
      • instructions: once you got access to the page, click on the "settings" button, and identify yourself (by modifying the Name field). You can indicate that you want to ask a question verbally by clicking on the "hand" button, and wait for the moderator to call on you; or, type and send your question into the chat window at the bottom of the screen.
      • thanks to the folks, one can now use a jabber/xmpp client (e.g. gtalk) to join this chatroom. Just add the room, in our case here: <> as a buddy ... Handy for mobile devices!
  • For those who have further questions or remarks on the topic (or ones tha are left unanswered), please email the individual panelists directly, or, better still, post them to the [swikig] list so that everyone in the community can benefit from the discourse.

Questions and Discussion captured from the chat session

Peter P. Yim: Welcome to the SemanticWiki mini-series (session-1) Launch Event - Thu 23-Oct-2008

  • Title: A Survey of the Landscape and State-of-Art in Semantic Wiki

Eric Miller: I'm surprised to see the trend lines pointing down for Ontology and Semantic Web...

Peter P. Yim: question for Max - ref. slide#17 - how is the "popularity" of, say, ontologies, arrived at?

Yaron Koren: You can see at the bottom - it's just the frequency of web searches on those terms.

Yaron Koren: Not all that scientific.

Peter P. Yim: thank you, Yaron

Max Voelkel, FZI: to slide 17: i simply queries Google Trends for search term popularity - assumption: if people google for it, it's popular

Peter P. Yim: thank you, Max

anonymous1: are the 4th SemWiki already planned?

Christoph Lange: anonymous1: we have some ideas (for ESWC 09) but not yet worked them out completely

Jie Bao: For 4th SemWiki, how about having it along with ISWC 2009 (Oct 2009,Washington DC)? As the

previous workshops are all in EU, and the US user community is growing substantially recently,

having a US-based workshop would actually be good. - Just for your consideration

Peter P. Yim: anyone who is still identified as "anonymous" ... would you kindly click on the "settings" button

(top center) and then swap in your name (in WikiWord format) please

Christoph Lange: re semwiki4: is there potential for the n+1st ws (who would submit, and what?)

-- or should the focus be broadened? Our idea was the "semantic bazaar", i.e. transitions

btween formal and informal knowledge on the web (for which wikis are a good tool, but

maybe not _just_ wikis)

Christoph Lange: ... where "bazaar" alludes to "the cathedral and the bazaar", i.e. to agile and

internetworked knowledge engineering

Yaron Koren: It might be worthwhile to note the commercial semantic wikis, available only as a service

and not (currently) as a standalone engine - Freebase and Swirrl.

Max Voelkel, FZI: @Yaron: Agree, Freebase and Swirrl (and Twine) are also very interesting developments!

Yaron Koren: Twine is a wiki?

Max Voelkel, FZI: well... it'S hard to say what a wiki is. not as wiki as freebase, but quite flexible

and modifyable by users, too

Christoph Lange: hmm, that refers to what i meant by "not just wikis" -- it need not be called "wiki",

but the way of knowledge engineering is similar

Fabian Haupt: FYI: there is a twine group on semantic web:

Yaron Koren: Does Twine let you edit what other people have written?

Eric Miller: Twine doesn't allow collaborative editing to my knowledge

Max Voelkel, FZI: Is this the key of wikis? At least an important point. Is a Google Document a wiki?

Is a shared network drive? ... we had long discussions on such topics

Christoph Lange: a shared network drive doesn't allow for links -- that's another important wiki feature

Max Voelkel, FZI: On windows and linux you can have links, right?

Yaron Koren: I'd say a wiki has two basic requirements: collaborative editing, and preservation of version history.

Max Voelkel, FZI: For me personally easy creation of *linked content* is a key feature

Yaron Koren: Maybe that's a requirement of a *good* wiki.

Max Voelkel, FZI: For me, versioning is optional

Yaron Koren: Hm - see slide 41.

Max Voelkel, FZI: Versioning is really nice, of course, it relieves users from fearing about errors/refactoring

Max Voelkel, FZI: Her eis the core community discussion about it:

Harold Solbrig: Some of these slides seem to go beyond the classic notion of "wiki". Is "wiki" a philosophy

and approach or an implementation of a broader set of principles?

Max Voelkel, FZI: Wiki is an overloaded term: wiki engine runs a wiki site adhering to wiki philosophy

- all is called just "wiki"

Harold Solbrig: Do some of these notions of sharing encompass a distributed / federated triple-store registry?

Harold Solbrig: Excellent point on the petri dish, imo.

Eric Miller: Re the question on the queue about tools adding semantics:

I'm curious, could you explain a bit more?

GaryBergCross: I would worry that letting tools add the semantics will lead to poor semantics.

Yaron Koren: I'm guessing that it's a statement on the limitations of AI.

Yaron Koren: But I could be wrong.

Max Voelkel, FZI: @Gary: True, the user must understand what she is doing.

Reasoning cannot be better than the del/data its based on

Eric Miller: so "tools" = automated meaning extraction?

Peter P. Yim: Gary, the hand-button toggles your "hand raising"

Max Voelkel, FZI: no, no *automated extraction*, but careful/meaningful interpretation. If a user

adds a tag to a picture, and the tag is the name of a location, maybe ask the

user if the picture is showing this location. Maybe ask the user if this

assumtpion always holds.

Harold Solbrig: Would be interested in versioning and transaction implementation...

Sebastian Schaffert: is based on JTA and Java EE transactions

Eric Miller: There would need to be rules and automated reasoning tools embedded into the system,

though, in order to know what clarifying information was needed. Right?

Sebastian Schaffert: Java EE and Jboss seam already provides much infrastructure for transactions

Eric Miller: (side note: I'm not a researcher, I'm a developer working on some semantically informed

applications, so I'm not as familiar with the state of the art here; thanks for your patience)

Max Voelkel, FZI: Of course, meaning extraction is also a nice branch of technology, but in my view,

one should ask the user, if the extraction was ok, or at least treat

the two kinds of facts (explicity, extracted)

Sebastian Schaffert: - SWOOKI

Max Voelkel, FZI: Slide 51, too

Max Voelkel, FZI: "how to do as much semantics as possible with as little user exposure as possible"

Yaron Koren: Well, this "challenge" ("if it is not useful in semantic wikis, it is not useful at all")

seems like a bit of a tautology - given that any kind of content can show up on a wiki page,

for something to be useful there seems to just mean that it's useful.

Christoph Lange: little user exposure could generally mean: whenever the user contributes sth.,

assume that (s)he is willing to give more information in that moment. So ask him/her about

why he did so, and record the answer in the knowledge base (as in Max's example on photo tagging)

Harold Solbrig: I'd like to argue that there are two functions - the creation of ontological knowledge

(wikipedia, semantic wiki, tagging, etc) and knowledge maintenance - Protege and like tools

that are used by specialists to integrate and coordinate.

Sebastian Schaffert: it is like software engineering

Sebastian Schaffert: much simpler now, because experts become quicker

Harold Solbrig: We use a model where SME's suggest in whatever degree of formalism they are comfortable,

suggestions are exported, Ontology engineers integrate with specialized tools, return to

the semantic wiki for sign-off or correction.

Harold Solbrig: We've lost too much SME value by making them fit their knowledge to the tool rather than v-v,

but we still need quality and consistency in the output.

Harold Solbrig: Will present on this in January.

Sebastian Schaffert: and also there are design principles where I don't need an engineer to build simple software,

our web designer can do that

Peter Dolog: Harold, I'm looking forward to hear on that in january

Peter Dolog: it seems like a pattern

Harold Solbrig: You touched on that in the talk. The notion that Wikis are organic through and through.

We've encountered some real issues when jit software collides with traditional software

development methodologies.

Harold Solbrig: SW development is going to have to change - is a template software or content? How about a query?

Harold Solbrig: How about when a user tweaks js or css

Yaron Koren: These are all examples of scripting languages.

Harold Solbrig: Indeed, but now the users can treat them as data, vs. requirements -> devel -> test -> deploy.

Eric Miller: "when jit software collides with traditional software development methodologies": could you

expand on that?

Harold Solbrig: I can't go into, say, Amazon and change their pages today.

Harold Solbrig: Part of what makes Wiki and Semantic Wiki powerful for us is that it is easy to change

templates, scripts, plugins, etc. to customize the environment to specific SME requirements.

(Semantic Forms & related tools as well).

Harold Solbrig: If the environment doesn't fit your needs, we tweak the forms and associated tools so they do.

Harold Solbrig: If I change a form, does it have to go through sw change control? (We are hosted on a

government site, which makes it even more tricky - the EPA got burned really bad by some

unsolicited content...)

Harold Solbrig: Excellent presentations!!

Peter Dolog: bye to all

Sebastian Schaffert: bye

Fabian Haupt: cya all

Fabian Haupt: happy coding

Max Voelkel, FZI: Thanks for being a great audience!

Christoph Lange: - please consider joining if you are

there, Sunday 6pm

Max Voelkel, FZI: I'll be there, too!

Christoph Lange: sure

Harold Solbrig: Wish I could - will any of it be webcast?

Peter P. Yim: see you there on Sunday, I'm coming too!

Christoph Lange: technically not possible, I fear. But the slides of the talks will be online afterwards

Peter P. Yim: thanks everyone, for your participation and contribution!

Christoph Lange: thanks for organizing!

Peter P. Yim: Christoph ... thank you very much for the synthesis and the compilation of the "hot topics"

from the 9/18 session ... that was most wonderful!

Yaron Koren: Maybe it makes sense to turn the December session into just a Semantic MediaWiki session?

Yaron Koren: It might be too many topics to cover otherwise.

Peter P. Yim: we just don't seem to have enough sessions! ... I agree, Yaron, so much to cover just in SMW

and its extensions

Christoph Lange: @Peter: thanks for the compliment, pleased to hear that you liked it

Peter P. Yim: maybe after the first six ... we could delve deeper into particular topics (like SMW, using

SWiki for ontology repositories & registries, etc.)

Max Voelkel, FZI: A round presentation about SMW + the ecosystem of extensions would be great. I think

this does not exist yet in any concise form.

Peter P. Yim: let's all keep the suggestions and discussion going on the [swikig] list ...

Yaron Koren: Is that where these sessions were planned? I was wondering about that.

Max Voelkel, FZI: Session planning happened partially in the ontolog wiki, partially between Peter P. Yim,

Sebastan and myself, Harold Solbrig and Li Ding too, partially in the last call, ...

Yaron Koren: Ah.

Max Voelkel, FZI: Session 2-6 are not cast in stone, but seemed to make a nice structure to cover most topics

Peter P. Yim: it was supposed to ... we have a "program committee" of sorts (we refer to them as co-champions here)

who was supposed to seed that discussion ... todays' presented "plan" (which is supposed to be a

strawman) is the first time this has been "socialized"

Peter P. Yim: the program needs to be community driven, and done in the "wiki way!"

Yaron Koren: Well, where's the page where it's being discussed?

Max Voelkel, FZI:

Peter P. Yim: I leave for Germany at about 5am tomorrow ... if I have time (after taking care of urgent matters)

I'll work on today's audio archive and post it before my trip) ... if not, I'll work on that

after I get back from ISWC (Karlsruhe) and FOIS (Saarbrueken)

Max Voelkel, FZI: Have a safe trip & cu here!

Peter P. Yim: this mini-series project home page is at:

... one can start from there

Yaron Koren: How can I start?

Peter P. Yim: I mean start reading ...

Yaron Koren: Oh.

Peter P. Yim: Thanks ... see you (going to lunch now)! bibi

Christoph Lange: CU on Sunday, have a good trip!

Peter P. Yim: Tx ... bibi (for now)

Christoph Lange: bye!

Session ended 2008.10.23 12:20 pm PDT

Audio Recording of this Session

  • To download the audio recording of the session, click here
    • the playback of the audio files require the proper setup, and an MP3 compatible player on your computer.
  • Conference Date and Time: 23-Oct-2008 10:40am~12:20pm PDT
  • Duration of Recording: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
  • Recording File Size: 10.2 MB (in mp3 format)
    • suggestion:
      • its best that you listen to the session while having the respective slide presentation opened in front of you. You'll be prompted to advance slides by the speaker.
  • Take a look, also, at the rich body of knowledge that this community has built together, over the years, by going through the archives of noteworthy past Ontolog events. (References on how to subscribe to our podcast can also be found there.)