A Semantic Framework for Touristic Information Systems

A Semantic Framework for Touristic Information Systems

Salvador Lima, José Moreira
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6543-9.ch011
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The Web is a crucial means for the dissemination of touristic information. However, most touristic information resources are stored directly in Web pages or in relational databases that are accessible through ad-hoc Web applications, and the use of automated processes to search, extract and interpret information can hardly be implemented. The Semantic Web technologies, aiming at representing the background knowledge about Web resources in a computational way, can be an important contribution to the development of such automated processes. This chapter introduces the concept of touristic object, giving special attention to the representation of temporal, spatial, and thematic knowledge. It also proposes a three-layered architecture for the representation of touristic objects in the Web. The central part is the domain layer, defining a Semantic Model for Tourism (SeMoT) to describe concepts, relationships, and constraints using ontologies. The data layer supports the mapping of touristic information in relational databases into Resource Description Framework (RDF) virtual graphs following the SeMoT specification. The application layer deals with the integration of information from different data sources into a unified knowledge model, offering a common vocabulary to describe touristic information resources. Finally, we also show how to use this framework for planning touristic itineraries.
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2. Semantic Systems For The Touristic Domain

The complexity of the touristic phenomenon makes the “processing” of knowledge more difficult and complex on traditional or non-semantic systems, rather than on semantic systems, as the latter are able to deal with heterogeneous associations of explicit knowledge and the inference of implicit knowledge. The success of the semantic systems is closely related with the use of ontologies. In addition, ontologies can also be used to improve the interoperability of touristic content’s stored in relational and non-relational databases. Such ontologies are consensual vocabularies that unify the universe of concepts represented in the touristic domain and consist in the sets of abstract concepts that unify distinct modes of representing similar touristic concepts.

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