Guest editorial

Guest editorial The VLDB Journal (2003) 12: 285 / Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1007/s00778-003-0109-x Special issue on the Semantic Web Published online: September 30, 2003 – c Springer-Verlag 2003 The Semantic Web is being presented as the next step in the THESUS that classifies Web documents based on their incom- evolution of the Web. The idea that Web pages and resources ing links’ semantics, which enables more effective browsing will be not just human understandable but also machine un- and enhances the validity of search results in the WWW con- derstandable has opened up several new avenues of research. text. In particular, THESUS extracts keywords from all pages’ Much of the initial work has focused on the development of incoming links and converts them to semantics by mapping semantically rich languages (e.g., DAML+OIL, RDF, OWL) them to a domain’s ontology, thereby organizing the Web and tools and techniques for adding semantic markup to docu- documents into thematic subsets based on their semantics, ments and services. The next step is to actually use the seman- enabling effective browsing, searching, and querying of the tic markup to improve human interaction with data and infor- Web. mation available on the Web. This brings up several research The following two papers contribute to the area of Web issues that have traditionally been associated with database services. “Composing Web services on the Semantic Web” by and IR research. This special issue on the Semantic Web of Brahim Medjahed, Athman Bouguettaya, and Ahmed K. El- the VLDB Journal provides insights into research activities in magarmid proposes an approach to composing Web services this nascent area through five articles selected after a rigorous at both the syntactic and semantic levels using WSDL. This review process. Due to the large number of submissions and is accomplished by employing composability rules based on the space limitations associated with a single journal issue, a structured definition of Web services and ensures that the many high-quality papers could not be accepted. composition is sound. The paper “POESIA: An ontological The selected papers span a broad range of research themes workflow approach for composing Web services in agricul- in this area, from ontology management and matching to Web ture” by Renato Fileto, Ling Liu, Calton Pu, Eduardo Del- querying to Web services. gadoAssad, and Claudia Bauzer Medeiros presents a workflow The following two papers contribute to the area of on- model called POESIA for composing Web services in which tology management. The paper “Managing multiple and dis- ontologies play a central, integrated role. Some novel and po- tributed ontologies on the Semantic Web” by A. Maedche, tentially useful aspect of POESIA include the specification B. Motik, and L. Stojanovic presents an integrated frame- of the ontological scope covered by a service, the “encom- work for managing multiple and distributed ontologies on the passes” relationship between scopes, and the application of Semantic Web. It proposes comprehensive methodologies to that relationship to service selection. The paper demonstrates handle ontology evolution and management by ensuring con- a significant application of practical impact using POESIA in sistent propagation of changes to the dependent artifacts. The the area of agricultural zoning. paper “Learning to match ontologies on the Semantic Web” We would like to thank all the authors for submitting their by AnHai Doan, Jayant Madhavan, Robin Dhamankar, Pedro research results and the reviewers for their insightful reviews. Domingos, and Alon Halevy proposes an approach to learn- We are grateful to editor-in-chief Tamer Ozsu for his continu- ing mappings between ontologies. The approach uses machine ous encouragement and help throughout this project. Special learning techniques for (semi)automatic mapping between two mention must also be made of Ahmed Gomaa, a Ph.D. student ontologies. at Rutgers University, for his help with the logistics. The paper “THESUS: Organizing Web document collec- tions based on link semantics” by Maria Halkidi, Benjamin Vijay Atluri Nguyen, Iraklis Varlamis, and Michalis Vazirgiannis contri- Anupam Joshi butes to the area of querying. It proposes a system called Yelena Yesha The VLDB Journal Springer Journals
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