Adding Semantic Extension to Wikis for Enhancing Cultural Heritage Applications
TL;DR: It is highlighted how wikis can be relevant solutions for building cooperative applications in domains characterized by a rapid evolution of knowledge, and the capabilities of semantic extension to provide better quality of content, to improve searching, to support complex queries and finally to carry out different type of users.
Abstract: Wikis are appropriate systems for community-authored content. In the past few years, they show that are particularly suitable for collaborative works in cultural heritage. In this paper, we highlight how wikis can be relevant solutions for building cooperative applications in domains characterized by a rapid evolution of knowledge. We will point out the capabilities of semantic extension to provide better quality of content, to improve searching, to support complex queries and finally to carry out different type of users. We describe the CARE project and explain the conceptual modeling approach. We detail the architecture of WikiBridge, a semantic wiki which allows simple, n-ary and recursive annotations as well as consistency checking. A specific section is dedicated to the ontology design which is the compulsory foundational knowledge for the application.
Summary (4 min read)
- Collaborative platforms that manage scientific knowledge are essential tools for scientists to help them to formalize their ideas, to develop theories collaboratively, to publish results (research articles, technical reports, data sets, etc.) and to produce knowledge for different kind of users.
- Most of wikis also provides a versioning system to track content changes and a full-text search engine for querying wiki pages.
- Nevertheless, a mere document management system is not sufficient to catch interdependent structures of knowledge.
- Domain specialists often need to comment on primary data.
- Adding semantics yields two dimensions of enhancements to a wiki: 1) adding a more formal structure to the wiki; 2) exporting, integrating and reusing information by the adoption of standard semantic technologies.
2 Project overview
- The aims of the international project CARE (Corpus Architecturae Religiosae Europeae) is the setting up of a corpus describing Christian edifices in Europe (http://care.u-bourgogne.fr).
- Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, France and Croatia have been included in the project four years ago.
- The French corpus focuses on the 7th and 8th centuries with very rich decades in terms of number of monuments.
- The French part of the project is supported by a French ANR funding (ANR-07-CORP-011).
- Building collaborative platform brings out some challenging characteristics: 1) complexity of data (heterogeneous, incom- plete, uncertain, inconsistent, spatial, temporal); 2) domain knowledge barrier; 3) evolving knowledge; and 4) skills of actors.
2.1 The CARE community
- From an organizational perspective, the CARE project takes the form of an expert network collecting and providing information on edifices, analyzing historical sources, filling documents and collaborating in the exploitation of the corpus through smaller research groups.
- Furthermore, the project involves undergraduate students that help in collecting information but lack expertise required to interpret data.
- In France, more than sixty researchers are collecting and analyzing data concerning approximately 2700 monuments.
- Two key characteristics describe the CARE community: multi-disciplinarity:.
- It is designed as a collaborative process which merges information from various disciplines; inter-disciplinarity:.
2.2 Conceptual modeling for the foundational knowledge
- Linster in  shows that the interaction among domain experts, knowledge engineers and tools creates the knowledge.
- He has shown that the process of elaborating a knowledge-based system is a constructive model-building process that includes: a discussion process between knowledge engineers and domain experts as well as the construction of a conceptual model (i.e. a general and abstract framework).
- The authors have applied Linster’s guidelines to the CARE project in order to initiate a foundational knowledge from the corpus of documents.
- All changes of space or religious function determine a new edifice state.
- Salient concepts let us to build a conceptual model, three groups of elements have been identified : 1. spatial concepts without temporal relationship (light grey): concept EGS refers to edifice, group of edifices or space inside edifice such as nave or apse.
3 WikiBridge’s architecture
- In a survey authored by Uren et al. , authors study semantic annotation, identify a number of requirements, and review some semantic annotation systems.
- WikiBridge’s design principles, in agreement with the CARE community, are following of the seven requirements given by Uren et al.: easy to use interface, user collaborative design, support of different user skills, support of heterogeneous format, compatibility with Semantic Web standards, annotation capabilities and storage, support for reasoning.
- In the next subsection the authors develop the most important requirements with regards to the architectural design of WikiBridge.
- In a knowledge engineering process, it is common that non-technical domain experts work together with experienced knowledge engineers.
- To support different levels of users skill certain advanced functionalities should be hidden from novice users but made available to experienced users.
- Thus, the authors use an Access Control List (ACL) mechanism to describe privilege control depending on user identity and group affiliation.
- Advanced users can define forms to help users to enter descriptions of edifices, each part of a form generates automatically annotations.
- To be able to exchange data with other applications (e.g. ontology editors, Web Services, other wikis), a compliance to Semantic Web standards is required.
- One of the most famous semantic wiki is Semantic MediaWiki (SMW) which is based on MediaWiki [16, 9].
- In 2009, when the authors have started the project, complex annotation and consistency checking were identified as mandatory functionalities.
- The authors have extended MediaWiki with the following semantic components: form based acquisition interface with automatic annotation, annotations wizard, annotations validation based on the context of a document, semantic rules and a semantic query engine.
- The annotation wizard helps users to construct simple or complex annotations by selecting ontology terms in lists and giving them properties and values .
- Two kinds of constraints can be check by using the ontology knowledge: 1) domain values of properties using ABox capabilities; and 2) structural consistency of properties using TBox capabilities (for instance, a cathedral can have a nave but cannot have an atrium).
3.3 Users with different skills
- Information access has been designed with taking into account some features about users.
- The authors have thus identified a usage typology in accordance to 1) kind of usage (reader, investigator, annotator); 2) knowledge degree of the domain (domain specialists like historian researchers and non specialists).
- Nevertheless all types of queries rely on the SPARQL query engine which also allows to process in line queries into wiki pages in order to summarize informations.
- To operate spatial and temporal analysis on annotations a set of web services has been developed .
4 Offering semantic tools for archaeology
- Cultural heritage collections can be annotated with different thesauri.
- //tinyurl.com/5u8bjer maintains about twenty thesauri, classified by content and organization, also known as The web page http.
- CIDOC-CRM aims at treating all types of material collected and/or displayed by museums: sites, monuments as well as collections of fine and applied arts.
- It covers also contextual information: historical, geographical context in which materials are placed and which gives them much of their significance and value.
4.1 Religious concepts in the CARE project
- Religious concepts in CARE are edifices, represented by the concept Building, with its decomposition into different constituent elements (nave, transept, apse, etc.) represented by the concept of Structure.
- To detail parts of an edifice, the authors introduced the concept of ElementArchitectural to describe masonry, floor, opening, etc. Liturgical installations (altar, ambo, ciborium, etc.) are represented by the concept of InstallationLiturgique and burials represented by the concept Tombe.
- These concepts have been placed under the concept E24 Physical Man-Made Thing CIDOC-CRM.
- Indeed, CIDOC-CRM defines this concept as ”all persistent physical items that are purposely created by human activity”.
- Figure 6 represents all these concepts (concepts with EXX are CIDOC-CRM concepts).
4.2 Modeling spatial relationships in archaeology
- The geometry implementation in the textual descriptions that are analyzed is a complex geometry.
- Indeed, these descriptions do not refer to an absolute and orthonormal space: it is rather, a space perception or a cognitive space whose structure is largely based on the functional aspects and objects described, and the perspective of the archaeologist.
- To represent the topological properties, the authors used the work of Hegenhofer and Herring .
- The authors have defined a minimum set of eight relations (disconnected, externally connected, partially overlap, equal, tangential proper part, non-tangential part, tangential proper part inverse, non-tangential part inverse) describing the relations between two regions.
4.3 Modeling temporal knowledge to track evolutions in CARE project
- When writing of his excavation report, the archaeologist graphically summarizes the results obtained with a timeline which is often organized by anterior/posterior relationships: materials are considered in relation to each other.
- In the CARE project, time model is based on following criteria: some absolute benchmarks and a relative chronology based on intervals.
- These century divisions are placed under E52 TimeSpan.
- Some Allen’ relationships  are properties used.
- This notion includes both complex and long-lasting actions such as building an edifice, as well as simple and short-lived actions.
- The authors have presented WikiBridge which provides users with advanced functionalities such as rich annotation model, consistency checking.
- The first experiment of the use of WikiBridge shows many interesting possibilities for scientific community, mainly the possibility given to scientists share and collaboratively build annotated knowledge.
- The authors have demonstrated that flexibility and data quality required by scientific applications can be achieved by using wiki with Semantic Web technologies.
- The semantics of annotation is guaranteed by an ontology including constraints which allow to describe accurately domain knowledge.
- The authors dual approach allows to cope with evolution of knowledge by dynamically modifying the ontology and annotations without modifying database schema.
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Cites background from "Adding Semantic Extension to Wikis ..."
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...As mentioned above, the easy interface and the consistent editor are two main reasons ....
...In particular, Leclercq and Marinette  have identified the wiki’s narrative structure, that is the fact that the software keeps track of every database’s modification, as being more suitable than a more common database centric approach, because in the latter the database is built in the first stages of data...
...Some Allen’ relationships  are properties used....
"Adding Semantic Extension to Wikis ..." refers methods in this paper
...To represent the topological properties, we used the work of Hegenhofer and Herring ....