A Modular Framework for Transforming Structured Data into HTML with Machine Readable Annotations

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Presented at the AGU Fall Meeting 2010


There is a plethora of web-based Content Management Systems (CMS) available for maintaining projects and data, i.a. However, each system varies in its capabilities and often content is stored separately and accessed via non-uniform web interfaces. Moving from one CMS to another (e.g., MediaWiki to Drupal) can be cumbersome, especially if a large quantity of data must be adapted to the new system. To standardize the creation, display, management, and sharing of project information, we have assembled a framework that uses existing web technologies to transform data provided by any service that supports the SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language (SPARQL) queries into HTML fragments, allowing it to be embedded in any existing website. The framework utilizes a two-tier XML Stylesheet Transformation (XSLT) that uses existing ontologies (e.g., Friend-of-a-Friend, Dublin Core) to interpret query results and render them as HTML documents. These ontologies can be used in conjunction with custom ontologies suited to individual needs (e.g., domain-specific ontologies for describing data records). Furthermore, this transformation process encodes machine-readable annotations, namely, the Resource Description Framework in attributes (RDFa), into the resulting HTML, so that capable parsers and search engines can extract the relationships between entities (e.g, people, organizations, datasets). To facilitate editing of content, the framework provides a web-based form system, mapping each query to a dynamically generated form that can be used to modify and create entities, while keeping the native data store up-to-date. This open framework makes it easy to duplicate data across many different sites, allowing researchers to distribute their data in many different online forums. In this presentation we will outline the structure of queries and the stylesheets used to transform them, followed by a brief walk through that follows the data from storage to human- and machine-accessible web page. We conclude with a discussion on content caching and steps toward performing queries across multiple domains.


DateCreated ByLink
December 11, 2011
Patrick WestDownload

Related Projects:

TW LogoTW Website Project
Description: A semantically-powered Tetherless World Website running in the Drupal CMS. This combines many web standard technologies, including RDF, SPARQL, XSLT, and XHTML.

Related Research Areas:

Future Web
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Concepts: Semantic Web
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Description: Web Science is the study of the World Wide Web and its impact on both society and technology, positioning the Web as an object of scientific study unto itself. Web Science recognizes the Web as a transformational, disruptive technology; its practitioners study the Web, its components, facets and characteristics. Ultimately, Web Science is about understanding the Web and anticipating how it might evolve in the future.
Concepts: Semantic Web