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AIC Seminar Series

Exploring Semantic Web Data

Roberto GarciaUniversitat de Lleida[Home Page]

Notice:  Hosted by Vinay Chaudhri.

Date:  Tuesday, August 14th 2012 at 4:00pm

Location:  EJ228 (SRI E building)  (Directions)


Roberto will present the Rhizomer tool, intended for semantic data exploration. This tool automatically generates an user interface tailored to the dataset and uses Information Architecture components users are already used to. These components are enriched with some additional functionalities that allow profiting from highly structured data and build complex semantic queries without requiring any knowledge about the underlying technologies or the terms used in the dataset. More from


Semantic Web technologies are mainly intended for making computers work easier but, at the end, the consumers are the users, human users. Consequently, user interfaces for the Semantic Web should be taken into account and special measures are required because we are dealing with great amounts of data and traditional ways of developing them do not easily scale in this scenario.

Our approach is to take advantage of the structures that organise data (schemas, thesaurus, ontologies,...) and use them to drive the automatic generation of user interfaces tailored to each semantic dataset to be explored. Information Architecture components that users are already used to, like navigation bars, breadcrumbs or facets, are generated automatically. Moreover, they are organised so they support the typical data analysis tasks of overview, zoom & filter and details on demand.

Some adjustments have been made to traditional Information Architecture components which allow extracting the full potential from highly structured data. For instance, facets can be used to filter but also to pivot between sets of connected resources, like going from the actors born in Canada to the films they have participated and continue filtering them by filmed in Canada. This kind of interaction makes it possible for lay users to build complex semantic queries, which are rendered as sentences to make them aware of what they are getting, for instance "Showing Films where country is Canada and have actor where born is Canada".

All this is implemented in a tool called Rhizomer, which is available from It has been applied to different datasets (like DBPedia on the Linked Data version of IMDb) and in ongoing research and development projects that apply Semantic Web technologies to domains like copyright management, XBRL financial data or e-Government.r/

   Bio for Roberto Garcia

Roberto GarcĂ­a had his first contact with Semantic Web technologies in 1999 while finishing his MSc Thesis about a distributed knowledge management tool based on CORBA, RDF and the SiLRI reasoner. He continued his research, after some time in the industry, exploring Semantic Web technologies for media management and completing his PhD thesis in 2006 about a Semantic Web approach to DRM. Currently, he is associate professor at Universitat de Lleida (Spain) and visiting at the Stanford HCI Group.

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