VSB: The Visual Semantic Browser

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Description

The Visual Semantic Browser

The Semantic Web not only covers ontology definitions, but also their relationships and instances. This work describes an adaptable tool for the visualization of all these Semantic Web elements. The tool includes a set of interfaces to enable the inclusion of different visualization tools as plug-ins. Thus, it is divided into four views: ontology groups, ontology mappings, ontologies and instances. Some algorithms are included but we are planning to develop new ones to improve the tool capabilities. The tool has also been successfully applied to develop a graphical query interface that takes advantage of the ontology and instance levels.

Introduction

The main aim of the Semantic Web is to try to solve some of the problems of the Contents Web. Thus, the Semantic Web can be seen as an evolution of the current Web, in which users will be able to deal with information based on its semantics. Software applications will be able to interoperate more efficiently and produce better results by means of reasoning.

The core of the Semantic Web is the use of ontologies to describe the concepts that applications must tackle to perform daily tasks. In this way, ontologies are formal descriptions of specific domains. These ontologies are intended to be shared knowledge in the target domain, and contribute to the production of new knowledge. There have been several languages proposed to describe ontologies, but the most widely used today is the W3C recommendation, OWL.

As the main goal of the Semantic Web is to enable application interoperability, there are only a few proposals oriented to users. Protègè (http://protege.stanford.edu/) is the most used ontology editor, and it includes some basic visualization algorithms. Other ontology editors include more limited visualization characteristics (http://sisinflab.poliba.it/owled/ and http://oiled.man.ac.uk/) and there are no proposals for visualizing groups of interrelated ontologies or ontologies with large amounts of instances. Furthermore, few works provide the visualization of relationships (mappings) between pairs of ontologies. Such mappings are usually included in matching tools as an additional help for researchers searching for mappings.

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