A Wiki on the Semantic Web
Michel Buffa (Mainline, I3S Lab, France), Guillaume Erétéo (Edelweiss, INRIA, France) and Fabien Gandon (Edelweiss, INRIA, France)
Copyright: © 2008
The wiki concept is more than 10 years old but has attained public success only recently, thanks to Wikipedia. However, in the intranet world, several studies have shown that the usage of wikis is subject to debate. Acceptance of such open, low-structured collaborative tools is not the rule. There are different reasons for explaining such low acceptance: social reasons (corporate culture may not be adapted) but also usability reasons (the wiki is not structured enough, it is hard to navigate and find relevant information, the wiki markup language used by most wiki engine makes people reluctant to contribute to the wiki, etc.). In this chapter we present SweetWiki, a new wiki engine that relies on Semantic Web technologies and addresses most usability problems that have been reported in Buffa and Gandon (2006), Chat and Nahaboo (2006), and Powers, (2005). SweetWiki is an example of an application reconciling two trends of the future Web: a semantically-augmented Web and a Web of social applications where every user is an active actor and provider. SweetWiki makes heavy use of Semantic Web concepts and languages and demonstrates how the use of such paradigms can improve navigation, search, and usability. By semantically annotating the resources of the wiki and by reifying the wiki object model itself, SweetWiki provides reasoning and querying capabilities. All the models are defined in OWL schemata capturing concepts of the wikis (wiki word, wiki page, forward and backward link, author, etc.) and concepts manipulated by the users (users’ folksonomy, external ontologies). These ontologies are exploited by an embedded semantic search engine (Corese) allowing us to support and ease the lifecycle of the wiki (e.g., restructuring pages), to propose new functionalities (e.g., semantic search, profile-based monitoring) and to allow for extensions (e.g., support new medias in pages, integrate legacy software). In SweetWiki we have paid special attention to preserve the essence of a wiki: simplicity and social dimension. Thus SweetWiki supports all the common wiki features such as easy page linking using WikiWords, versioning, and so forth, but also innovates, integrating a WYSIWYG editor extended to support social tagging functionalities, embedded SPARQL queries, and so forth, masking the OWL-based annotation implementation. Users can freely enter tags and an auto-completion mechanism suggests existing ones by issuing queries to identify existing concepts with compatible labels. Thus tagging is both easy and motivating (real time display of the number of related pages) and concepts are collected in folksonomies. Wiki pages are served directly in XHTML or in JSPX format, embedding semantic annotations ready to be reused by other Semantic Web software.