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How the Semantic Web is transforming information access


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Talk at the B-Debate meeting "Artificial Intelligence: Dreams, Risks, and Reality", 8 March 2017, Barcelona

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How the Semantic Web is transforming information access

  1. 1. How the Semantic Web is transforming information access Guus Schreiber VU University Amsterdam
  2. 2. Overview of this talk • My journey • Knowledge engineering in the Web era • Using knowledge for enriched information access • Selection of (research) issues
  3. 3. My journey knowledge engineering • design patterns for problem solving • methodology for knowledge systems • models of domain knowledge • ontology engineering
  4. 4. My journey access to digital heritage
  5. 5. My journey Web standards Chair of •Web metadata: RDF 1.1 •OWL Web Ontology Language 1.0 •SKOS model for publishing vocabularies on the Web •Deployment & best practices
  6. 6. A few words about Web standardization • Key success factor! • Consensus process actually works – Some of the time at least • Public review – Taking every comment seriously • The danger of over-designing – Principle of minimal commitment
  7. 7. Knowledge engineering in the web era
  8. 8. Key principle: Think large! "Once you have a truly massive amount of information integrated as knowledge, then the human-software system will be superhuman, in the same sense that mankind with writing is superhuman compared to mankind before writing." Doug Lenat (IJCAI Milan 1987: “On the thresholds of knowledge”)
  9. 9. Google Knowledge Graph: 70 billion facts (October 2016)
  10. 10. WordNet(s): semantic networks of language terms
  11. 11. Iconclass: categorizing image scene
  12. 12. Other frequently-used ontologies • Dublin Core • Friend-of-a-Friend • • Library of Congress Subject Headings • .....
  13. 13. Lessons for knowledge engineering 1. Be modest – appreciate what is already available 1. Don’t recreate, but enrich and align 2. Ontologies represent consensus – “creating my own ontology” is a contradictio in terminis 1. Beware of ontological over-commitment
  14. 14. The Web: resources and links URL URL Web link
  15. 15. The Semantic Web: typed resources and links URL URL Web link ULAN Henri Matisse Dublin Core creator Painting “Woman with hat” SFMOMA
  16. 16. Knowledge representation: graphs
  17. 17. Generating Linked Data WSSS-12, Leiden 18
  18. 18. Using knowledge for information access
  19. 19. Strategies for using knowledge in information retrieval • Enrich corpus used for information retrieval – E.g. add synonyms • Enriched presentation of search results • Custom-tailored search algorithms – Graph search – Recommendation
  20. 20. Enriching metadata with concepts
  21. 21. Visualising piracy events
  22. 22. Sample graph search algorithm From search term (literal) to art work: •Find resources with matching label •Find path from resource to art work – Cost of each step (step when above cost threshold) – Special treatment of semantics: sameAs, inverseOf, … •Cluster results based on path similarities
  23. 23. Graph search: “Picasso”
  24. 24. Generating a personalized museum tour
  25. 25. Challenge: relation search Picasso, Matisse & Braque
  26. 26. Challenge: event-centered approach => people like narratives
  27. 27. Research issues in knowledge engineering
  28. 28. The myth of a unified ontology • In large virtual collections there are always multiple ontologies – In multiple languages • Every ontology has its own perspective – You can’t just merge them • But: you can use ontologies jointly by defining a limited set of links! • Large body of research on “ontology alignment”
  29. 29. Limitations of categorical thinking • The set theory on which ontology languages are built is inadequate for modelling how people think about categories (Lakoff) – Category boundaries are not hard: cf. art styles – People think of prototypes; see theory of Rosch • We need to make meta-distinctions in hierarchies explicit – organizing class: “furniture” – base-level class: “chair” – domain-specific: “Windsor chair”
  30. 30. Use of crowdsourcing to annotate data • Collecting annotation data on text, images, sounds and videos • Use as gold standard for learning algorithms – Inter-observer agreement – Are experts better annotators than laypersons?
  31. 31. Winner EuroITV Competition Best Archives on the Web Award 32
  32. 32. Nichesourcing: finding the right minority vote “the frog stands for the rejected lover” “The frog indicates the profession of the women” “Sexy ladies!” annotation quality level 33 “women”
  33. 33. A small selection of issues • Ownership/rights of knowledge sources – Incorporation of public data in private data • Open access • Fair use of (lay/expert) crowd • Explicit knowledge sources support explanation?