Mailing Lists and Social Semantic Web

Mailing Lists and Social Semantic Web

Sergio Fernández (Fundación CTIC, Spain), Diego Berrueta (Fundación CTIC, Spain), Lian Shi (Fundación CTIC, Spain), Jose E. Labra (University of Oviedo, Spain), and Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-272-5.ch004
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Electronic Mailing lists are a key part of the Internet. They have enabled the development of social communities who share and exchange knowledge in specialized and general domains. In this chapter the authors describe methods to capture some of that knowledge which will enable the development of new datasets using Semantic Web technologies. In particular, the authors present the SWAML project, which collects data from mailing lists. The authors also describe smushing techniques that normalize RDF datasets capturing different resources that identify the same one. They have applied those techniques to identify persons through the mailing lists of open source communities. These techniques have been tested using a dataset automatically extracted from several online open source communities.
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Social Semantic Web

The Semantic Web vision tries to develop new ways to integrate and reuse the information published on the web. To that end, the W3C has developed several technologies, like RDF, which enable to add metadata descriptions that contain meaningful values and global properties to resources. The resulting metadata forms a graph model which can be easily linked with other graphs (Berners-Lee, 2006) incrementing the knowledge represented by the original graph. Those values and properties formalize the knowledge of a particular. In 2004, the W3C consortium developed OWL (Patel-Schneider et al, 2004), a web ontology language which facilitates the definition of those formalizations, called ontologies. Based on description logics, OWL has been adopted as the standard ontology language with several available editors, reasoners and tools. There have been also a number of ontologies developed in OWL for different purposes and with different level of detail, from generic to domain-specific ones.

On the other hand, in the last years, the concept of Web 2.0 has attracted a lot of interest. One of the key aspects of Web 2.0 applications is the social part of the web. Users are not considered as mere consumers of information, but also as producers. People want to share knowledge, establish relationships, and even work together using web environments. It is necessary to develop people-oriented web technologies which can represent people interests and that enable the integration and reuse of people related information in the same way that the semantic web vision advocates. These technologies can be seen as social semantic web and we expect that there will be more and more applications making use of them.

One of the first developments is the FOAF vocabulary, which represents basic properties of people, like their name, homepage, etc. as well as the people they know. FOAF descriptions are very flexible and can be extended to other domains. There are already web portals which export their user profiles in FOAF format and the number of FOAF applications is increasing.

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