OntoWiki - An Authoring, Publication and Visualization Interface for the Data Web

Tracking #: 490-1686

Philipp Frischmuth
Michael Martin
Sebastian Tramp
Thomas Riechert
Sören Auer

Responsible editor: 
Guest editors Semantic Web Interfaces

Submission type: 
Full Paper
OntoWiki is a front-end application for the Semantic Data Web, which was originally developed to support distributed knowledge engineering scenarios. Due to its extensibility it also serves as an development framework for knowledge intensive applications. On the surface, OntoWiki is a generic user interface for arbitrary RDF knowledge graphs. It supports the navigation through RDF knowledge bases using SPARQL-generated lists, tables and trees (e.g.\ class trees and taxonomies). All resources are automatically represented as hyperlinks and backlinks are created whenever feasible, thus enabling users to easily traverse entire knowledge graphs. Since all collections of resources displayed in OntoWiki are generated by SPARQL queries, they can be further refined by applying additional filters. In order to explore large datasets, a comprehensive statistical data management and visualization method was integrated. We give an overview on the architecture and explain the navigation, exploration and visualization features provided for RDF based information and derived statistics. To showcase the versatility of OntoWiki and its various deployments in the Linked Data Web, we describe some large-scale use cases in the domains of enterprise data integration, governmental data publication and digital humanities. This article is the first comprehensive presentation of OntoWiki summarizing the advancements after the initial publication in 2006.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Jenny Ure submitted on 24/Jul/2013
Minor Revision
Review Comment:

Although it builds on an existing publication, the paper takes this further, and gives the reader a birds eye view of the wider field, the barriers and opportunities, and the particular aims and modus operandii of Ontowiki as a front-end application for the Semantic Web.

The paper is logical, lucid and cogent, structuring the presentation around the ability of OntoWiki to address the barriers to use which they present at the beginning.

Although it is intended to be a descriptive overview of the application, it would have been helpful if the Case Studies had also included some feedback from users about the problems, tensions or even opportunities that arose during the implementation. This may not be necessary for this type of presentation, so is not necessarily a factor for this special issues, but it would have given the reader a better basis to consider who usable it was in practice, and the nature of the barriers.

The text is authoritative and detailed, (though rather long), using illustrations and Case Studies from different disciplines to give a more tangible taste of the potential of this approach for collaborative research. I particularly liked the contrast between the types of case study - using a business and a digital humanities project to convey how this would work in practice, and what the potential is for less technical readers in particular.

There were some minor preposition and word order comments which I have corrected on the pdf printout. Happy to correct them directly using 'tracking' on a Word document and return them if this is helpful. (Overview on ...to Overview of etc).

These are minor, however, these make minimal difference to readability and are not essential. I have listed them below in case.

p1 - overview of (not on)
- However it is (not its)
p3 - collaborators work (not to work)
p4 - already lists (not lists already)
- overview of
p5 - it is built (not build)
p7 - Wrappers (not Wrapper)
p11 - stastical data (not statistic)
p12 -usually have (not have usually)
p13 - most frequently requested features
p14 - a method of manipulating and controlling..
- more specifically
p18 - a unified
p20 - HAS already significantly influenced
p23 - The script OCPY exports, transforms and imports the knowledge base according to...
- balancing of (not between)
p24 - by better leveraging (not by leveraging more)

As a description of an application this could be published as it is, and provides a detailed and authoritative contribution. I have indicated minor revisions but could have gone either way.

Review #2
By Paul Hermans submitted on 02/Aug/2013
Minor Revision
Review Comment:

The article gives a very good overview of where to situate OntoWiki, what it does, how it works, its architecture, its strengths (and weaknesses) and for which use cases it can be deployed, with some concrete examples described.

As a tool description from a technical viewpoint, the article is superb.
It is however also very elaborate and I would suggest to describe the functionalities in a more compact way.
The general editorial rule of SWJ for tool descriptions is to be 'brief and pointed', which is not the case here.

What I'm missing a little bit in this article is the user viewpoint.
What have been over the years the experiences and feedback from the users?
Which UX changes have been carried out based on user input?
What worked, what didn't?

But based on the functionalities offered, OntoWiki surely falls within the category "Semantic Web Interfaces" and hence deserves a place in this special issue.

Review #3
By Mariano Rico submitted on 09/Dec/2013
Review Comment:

Excelent paper with a detailed description of the state of the art and technical details.
I miss
1) some URLs with existing ontowiki-based sites. Caption of real ontowiki-based websites snapshots should include the URL to reach the depicted figure.
2) a detailed description of the performance issues related to semantic wikis. In my experience most systems lack quick user interface responses.

I would check some URLs. For instance:
- Looking for the webspps corresponding to figures 11 and 12, I realized that http://open-data.europa.eu/en/apps shows a link to CubeViz, but that link doesn't work (Chrome on Windows 7, 9 dic 2013).
- Footnotes 37 and 40 point to a blank page (if I change the URL y get an Ontowiki error)
- Footnote 41 links to a not found page