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News of Dezember 17, 2010

5 years Semantic MediaWiki

SMW logo 260.png

At the Wikipedia commmunity meetup 2005 Denny Vrandečić and Markus Krötzsch presented their idea of extending the Wikipedia platform [1] with Semantic MediaWiki, in short SMW [2]. Semantic technologies are to be used, in order to improve writing and reading in Wikipedia. Some words about the implementation: Wiki pages now can not only contain unstructured texts, but also property-value pairs. For instance, the page "Karlsruhe" can be described with the property "located in" and its value "Baden-Wuerttemberg". This information is used to automatically retrieve all pages within the wiki that resemble cities in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Similarly, properties and values are further described, resulting in a semantic structure that makes it possible to ask the wiki for specific information and to display the answers in various formats.

SMW is not used for Wikipedia - too big the demands of a Top-Ten website - yet, in business and academia it is well-known and broadly used.

Some examples: Researchers in the ACTIVE [3] project use SMW to improve efficiency of typical knowledge workers, e.g. at Accenture. In contrast, Project SMART [4] applies SMW for communication between people from Israel, Palestine, and Jordan about water resources. SNPedia [5] allows analysis of gene tests; OpenEI [6] publishes data from the energy industry; in the course of Vulcan's [7] Halo Project [8] OntoPrise [9] developed the enterprise version SMW+[10]; of course, AIFB's website [11] relies on SMW. Countless companies benefit from intranet wikis for their employees; how many of thouse feature SMW, noone knows.

SMW's community plays a large role for its popularity. Developers from all over the world extend SMW, be it in order to input data with forms, to display data on maps or charts, and to integrate data from arbitrary sources. By turns in the US or Europe, developers and users semiannually meet in order to discuss latest results and trends.

Thus, there are abundant plans for the next five years. Following the original idea, innovative concepts for the semantic web are realized, refined, and made availabe in SMW for a broad user base. All the same important is it to further improve SMW's performance, stability, and extensibility. Each with the aim and the motivation of providing knowledge for everyone, through Wikipedia, supported by semantic technologies.

From the research group Web Science