Combining the Social and the Semantic Web

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A half-day tutorial at ESWC2011, Heraklion, Greece. It will be on 29 May 2011. Registration can be done via the ESWC2011 registration.


Web 2.0 technologies have lowered the barriers to online contribution, enabling average Web users to be active publishers of user-generated content rather than just passive consumers. The Social Web provides an easy way for communities to meet, coordinate and share, and as a consequnce has become a wealth of useful information. Normal people who witness important events can become citizen journalists providing real-time news and photos. Experts from various domains share their specialist knowledge and experiences. Thus social media has become an important everyday information resource, in particular for niche and real-time information needs.

However the informal, uncurated and distributed nature of social media presents some challenges for information management tasks like data integration and reuse, as well as information-seeking tasks such as search and querying. The Semantic Web has potential to overcome these problems through the use of standard vocabularies and the interlinking of data across heterogeneous websites.

This tutorial will give an overview of current frameworks, prototypes, and commercial applications for leveraging semant.css in social software systems, ranging from content management systems like Drupal over wiki-based collaboration systems like MediaWiki to microblogging applications like StatusNet. Following an overview of the motivation for combining the Social and the Semantic Web, we will proceed with an introduction to various technologies and trends in both domains. This will be followed by a series of sections whereby issues in various Web 2.0 application areas will be discussed, and semantic enhancements to these areas will be described.


14:30-15:15 Introduction

  • Social and Semantic Web
  • Data portability
  • Ontologies

15:15-16:00 Applications: General

  • Semantic Tagging
  • Semantic Microblogging
  • Facebook Open Graph
  • Drupal 7

16:00-16:30 Coffee Break

16:30-17:15 Applications: Wikis

  • Wikis and semant.css
  • Semantic MediaWiki
  • Collaboration

17:15-18:00 Using Semantic Social Data

  • Distributed Social Web
  • Recommendations
  • Enhanced visualisations
  • Social network analysis



Sheila Kinsella is a Ph.D. student at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), National University of Ireland, Galway under the supervision of John Breslin. She is a member of the Social Software unit. Her research activities focus on applying Semantic Web technologies to study user-generated content. During her graduate studies she has at been a research intern at Yahoo! Labs Barcelona and at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and an associate researcher with IBM's Centre for Advanced Studies in Dublin. She graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2006 and received a BE degree with 1st class honours in Electronic and Computer Engineering.

Denny Vrandečić is research associate at the Institute AIFB at KIT, where he recently received his PhD. His current research interests include massive web-based collaboration and knowledge diversity. He is co-developer of Semantic MediaWiki. His contributions to Open Source software have received a number of prizes (Theseus Idea Competition, award, Semantic Web Challenge finalist, and others), and are widely used in industry and academia. He consulted Metaweb's Freebase, was founding administrator of the Croatian Wikipedia, and is founding member of the Wikimedia Research Council. He co-organized several workshops at WWW and ISWC, chaired the scientific track of Wikimania 2008, and co-chaired tracks at ESWC2010 and 2011. He was or is involved in the EU-funded projects SEKT, ACTIVE, and RENDER, the project Halo funded by Vulcan Inc., Seattle, and the BMBF-funded project SMART that deals with improving water resource management in the lower Jordan valley, partnering, among others, the state of Israel, the Kingdom of Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.


We thank our funding agencies Science Foundation Ireland and EU FP7 Project RENDER.