Workshop Proposal: The Wiki Way of Semantics [SemWiki2008]
 Description of the Field
Wikis are collaborative environments for authoring Web content. Some of the key aspects of Wikis are:
- they hide the complexity of Web technologies (like HTML) from non-technical users,
- their content is usually strongly connected via hyperlinks, and
- they allow for continuous changes of the content that are immediately accessible and usable.
As a consequence, Wiki systems are nowadays used for a large number of purposes, including encyclopedias, project documentation and coordination, and personal knowledge management. Wikis have recently become more popular than databases or blogs, according to Google Trends (graph).
Of the Semantic Wikis developed since late 2004 (Ontoworld describing many of them), around 12 different systems powering hundreds of web sites seem to be actively maintained. The goal of this workshop is to explore and collect new approaches of adding semantics-powered features to Wikis or using Wikis to generate semantics, which go beyond the first pioneer steps of adding RDF support to non-semantic Wikis. Scientific papers on Semantic Wikis published in 2007 mention as hot topics: Connection to natural language processing, browsing strategies and a number of applications areas such as problem solving, E-learning, software engineering and of course knowledge management in science and in enterprises.
Semantic Wikis try to combine the strengths of Semantic Web (machine processable, data integration, complex queries) and Wiki (easy to use and contribute, strongly interconnected, collaborativeness) technologies. Goals are diverse and include:
- simple annotations of existing Wiki content;
- tools that guide users from informal knowledge contained in texts to more formal structures;
- full-fledged tools for ontology editing where the text is no longer in the focus of the system.
Semantic Wikis contain in an integrated fashion many of the core challenges of the Semantic Web community: authoring, versioning, interlinked data, semantic browsing, semantic annotating, semantic diffs, semantic search and getting overview. In a Semantic Wiki, such methods have to be integrated into a coherent whole, while still remaining lightweight and easy to use. In this workshop, we investigate how these challenges can be tackled in an integrated fashion.
 Goals and Objectives
Now, after more than three years of research on Semantic Wikis, which has yielded a great diversity of approaches and solutions, the time has come to critically review these results, e.g. against the original wiki principles (as established by Ward Cunningham and other wiki pioneers; bold in the list below) and pose new research questions about how these principles can really be leveraged with semantic technologies:
- Collaborative Authoring: Wiki content is editable by all – whoever “all” means: How can semantic techniques help to manage permissions? Are there semantic approaches to licensing? How do Semantic Wikis cope with inconsistent knowledge? Beyond easy text input via a simple text syntax or WYSIWYG editors, how can semantic information help to offer better assistance for editing, annotating, structuring? How can wiki syntax ideas be exploited for semantic authoring?
- Changes: How do we get from “recently changed pages” to “recently changed resources” or even better “really hot topics”? How can the “quick diffs” between two versions evolve from syntax to semantics? What kinds of page edits change the semantics? How can these changes be identified and what effects on other parts of the knowledge base do they have? How to convey semantic changes to a user?
- Links: so-called “Automatic link generation” in wikis just recognizes SpecialSyntacticalPatterns (called WikiWords or CamelCase). Backlinks allow to browse links in backward direction, too. What other ways to create, infer, and use links are possible or required in a semantic wiki?
- Retrieval: Wikis support finding pages by title and contents. In Semantic Wikis, how can IR-based search methods be combined with semantic search approaches? What browsing methods in semantic wikis can give the user a better sense of overview than simple page lists?
From a social point of view, we want to investigate how Semantic Wikis can help to boost the success of Wikis as “weapons of mass collaboration” (Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, Wikinomics). Mass collaboration with Wikis has already been extremely successful, even with quite simple technology: large, world-public Wikis like Wikipedia, the biggest encyclopedia of the world, consulted every day by hundred of thousands of visitors, or the Wikis used by most open source projects, as well as enterprise-public intranets used by e.g. Motorola, Google, or SAP. Personal wikis begin to become popular as a new kind of personal information management (PIM) tool. Now the challenge is to use Semantic Web technologies to connect the different information spaces and turn them into one global collaborative read-write-query knowledge space accessible to everyone, be it humans or agents.
Topics include (but are not limited to):
- Text-Based Semantic Authoring
- Acquisition of Formal Knowledge from Structured Text
- Collaborative Authoring of Formal Knowledge
- Continuous and Integrated Knowledge Usage and Refinement
- Usability and empirical studies of semantic wikis and human factors
- Application of semantic wikis in E-learning, software engineering, knowledge engineering and other domains
- Semantic Wikis in Enterprises
- New Ways of Authoring, Browsing and Navigating Semantically Enhanced Data
- Reusing data from Semantic Wikis in other systems
- Personal Semantic Wikis
 Anticipated Outcome
This workshop will be the third “formal” meeting of researchers interested in Semantic Wiki systems. The first meeting was the SemWiki2006 workshop at ESWC 2006, the biggest workshop with about 43 abstract submissions and around 100 participants. The aim is to enable exchange of ideas, discuss possible future directions for Semantic Wiki research, and make the Semantic Web community aware of the potential of Semantic Wiki systems as a tool for collaborative knowledge authoring and acquisition.
The outcome of the workshop will be :
- Structure of the research area (brainstorming session, documented in this wiki)
- Experience reports - what worked with semantic wikis and what did not?
- Overview of applications of semantic wikis
- Open research questions
 Structure of the Workshop
The workshop will consist of research papers, position papers, and system demonstrations. Because of the high interest in this topic we encountered at ESWC 2006, we plan to run a full-day workshop.
We will start with an Invited Talk on Corporate Knowledge Management with Semantic Wikis at SUN. The first half day will continue with presentations of research and position papers. Since we expect many demo submissions, the second half of the day will consist of demonstrations.
We will conclude the workshop with a joint dinner, including a discussion on standardisation of semantic wiki data formats and ontologies (building on existing work such as WSR 3).
In this workshop, we will require the authors to submit their final versions using SALT (semantically annotated LaTeX). It allows authors to annotate their articles directly with semantic markup. This semantic markup will be used to extract and publish metadata of the submissions on the Semantic Web. A specialized LaTeX template will be provided by the workshop organisers that allows to easily add these annotations.
 Target Audience
We want to bring together researchers active in the development and application of traditional and semantic wiki systems, as well as researchers interested in knowledge acquisition in general and in computer supported cooperative work. This could include researchers working on semantic portals, personal knowledge management systems and ontology authoring.
The core of the Semantic Wiki community, since the last workshop mostly represented in the Semantic Wiki Interest Group, consists of around 150 researchers so far, but there are indications that other research communities have started to become interested in applying Semantic Wikis, even though they may use different terminologies. For example, the TYPES topical workshop "Math Wiki" of October 2007 was a meeting within the community of Mathematical Knowledge Management that dealt with collaborative tools for formal mathematics. Enterprise wikis, CSCW tools and knowledge management portals are also application areas of semantic wikis. We aim at establishing connections to these communities.
 Related Events
After the first Semantic Wiki workshop at ESWC 2006 and the workshop on “Wiki-based Knowledge Engineering” (WibKE) at WikiSym, the International Symposium on Wikis 2006, there has not been any workshop specifically devoted to semantic wikis, but many submissions on related topics to other relevant conferences or workshops. Wikimania, the annual Wikimedia conference, featured a panel on Semantic Web and natural language processing and a hands-on tutorial on using knowledge from Semantic MediaWiki sites in applications in 2006 and two talks about semantic wikis in 2007.
Other semantic wiki related events are:
- I-SEMANTICS 2007, Graz, Austria, with a focus on Web 2.0 and Social Software
- Conference on Social Semantic Web 2007, Leipzig
- Workshop on Social Web and Knowledge Management (SWKM2008) at WWW2008
 Organising Committee (alphabetical order)
Christoph Lange is a Ph.D. student in the KWARC group (knowledge adaptation and reasoning for content) at Jacobs University Bremen. His research topics are mathematical knowledge management (MKM), semantic markup languages, and semantic wikis. He is developing and maintaining SWiM, a semantic wiki for mathematical knowledge management, that aims at supporting scientists and learners. He has published scientific papers about MKM and semantic wikis at several workshops as well as a book chapter on his SWiM system and is PC member and/or reviewer for several workshops and conferences in the MKM or semantic web area, e.g. MKM 2007 and I-SEMANTICS 2007, and has edited a book about using, administering, and customizing wikis.
Dr. Sebastian Schaffert is working as a Senior Researcher and Project Manager at the group for Knowledge-based Information Systems (KIS) at Salzburg Research as of August 2005. Since 2006, he is also Scientific Director of Salzburg NewMediaLab (SNML), the Austrian industry competence centre on New Media hosted by Salzburg Research. From 2001-2005, Sebastian was a research and teaching assistant at the Institute for Informatics, University of Munich, Germany. He received his PhD from the University of Munich in 2004. Sebastian Schaffert is engaged in research on the Semantic Web, Social Software, eLearning, Knowledge Representation and Knowledge-based Systems, Reasoning and Programming Languages. His particular interest is currently in the combination of Social Software with Semantic Web technologies. In the above-mentioned areas, he has numerous publications and is member of many programme committees in international journals, conferences, and workshops. Sebastian Schaffert was among other things also the initiator and co-programme chair of the 1st Workshop “From Wiki to Semantics” at ESWC06 and of the Semantics conference series (2006 in Vienna, 2007 in Graz), which is concerned about the “Social Semantic Web” and industry relevant research on Semantic Systems. Sebastian Schaffert is also co-ordinator of the EU FP7 project KIWI starting in March 2008. KIWI's main topic is knowledge management with Semantic Wikis.
Dr. Hala Skaf-Molli received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Nancy University in 1997. Since 1998, she is Associate Professor at University of Nancy. She is member of the INRIA ECOO (Environments for Cooperation) project. Dr. Skaf-Molli has mainly worked on collaborative environments and focused on problems of semantic consistency of shared data in collaborative environments and awareness models for collaborative editing. She has been or is regular Program Committee member of ICEIS (Conference on Enterprise Information Systems) since 2003, IFIP CONFENIS (Conference on Research and Practical Issues of Enterprise Information Systems) 2007. She is member of the local organization committee of Wise2007 (Web Information Systems Engineering) conference and co-chair of special session on Computer Supported Collaborative Editing in iceis2007.
Max Völkel is working as a Ph.D. student and Research Assistant at the Forschungzentrum für Informatik (FZI) at the Universität Karlsruhe (TH). His topics are Personal Knowledge Management, Semantic Web Infrastructure and Semantic Wikis. In the Knowledge Web Network of Excellence he has worked on versioning RDF data and programatic access of ontologies (RDFReactor). He works in the EU-project NEPOMUK to build a next-generation knowledge articulation tool. He is the author of a number of RDF-based tools such as RDF2Go, a triple store abstraction layer. Currently he is working on a semantic web content repository (swecr), unifying RDF and Web 2.0 content management. He is also one of the founders of the Semantic MediaWiki project. He was in the PC of SAAW 2006, I-SEMANTICS 2007, ACM WikiSym 2007, and ISWC2007. He was a reviewer for IEEE Internet Computing and ACM HyperText2007.
 Programme Committee (Preliminary)
- Sören Auer, Universität Leipzig (DE)
- Tudor Groza, DERI (IE)
- Siegfried Handschuh, DERI (IE)
- Michael Kohlhase, Jacobs University Bremen (DE)
- Pascal Molli, Nancy University (FR)
- Amedeo Napoli, LORIA (FR)
- Joachim Baumeister, Uni Würzburg (DE)
- David Aumüller, Universität Leipzig (DE)
- Paolo Castagna, HP Labs, Bristol (UK)
- Björn Decker, Fraunhofer IESE (DE)
- Ludger van Elst, DFKI (DE)
- Michael Erdmann, Ontoprise (DE)
- Martin Hepp, DERI Innsbruck (AT)
- David Karger, MIT (US)
- Malte Kiesel, DFKI (DE)
- Bertin Klein, DFKI Kaiserslautern (DE)
- Peter Mika, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL)
- Eyal Oren, DERI (IE)
- Flavio De Paoli, Università di Milano (IT)
- Jean Rohmer, Thales (FR)
- Steffen Staab, Universität Koblenz (DE)
- York Sure, Universität Karlsruhe (DE)
- Hideaki Takeda, NII, (JP)
- Denny Vrandecic, Universität Karlsruhe (DE)
- Anita De Waard, Elsevier (NL)