Special Issue call: Semantic Web Interfaces

Semantic Web Journal: Special Issue Announcement and Call for Papers



Accepting late submissions throughout summer 2013: Please get in touch with the special issue editors.

With this Special Issue, we aim to bring together expertise and insights from the domain of human-computer interaction (HCI) to help address fundamental challenges in semantic web systems design. There are many technological and socio-technical challenges in semantic web, linked data and web science that may benefit from the research techniques and other approaches from interaction design, user-centered design and related disciplines. The special issue on Semantic Web Interfaces (SWI) is being developed in parallel with workshops and a W3C community group.

Guest editors

Roberto Garcia, Universitat de Lleida, Spain
Paola Di Maio, ISTCS.org, UK
Heiko Paulheim, TU Darmstadt, Germany

Guest Editorial Board

Lloyd Rutledge, Open Universiteit , Netherlands
Ian Dickinson, Epimorphic, UK
Ora Lassila, Nokia, USA
Michael Hausenblas, DERI, NUI Galway Ireland
Paul Mulholland, The Open University , UK
Jacco van Ossenbruggen, CWI ,Nederlands
Tim Hussein, University of Duisburg-Essen Germany
Jenny Ure, Queen's Medical Research Institute - UoE Scotland
Eero Hyvönen, Aalto University and University of Helsinki Norway
Aba-Sah Dadzie, The University of Sheffield UK
Haofen Wang Apex, SJTU China
Tru Cao  National University, Vietnam
Stephan Lukosch, Delft University of Technology, Nederlands
Han Woo Park, YeungNam University, South Korea 
Ghislain Hachey, Athabasca University,  Canada
Paul Hermans, ProXML, Belgium
Jiao Tao, Oracle, USA
Martin Voigt, TU Dresden, Germany
Prateek Jain, IBM

Topics of interest for the special issue (but not limited to)

  • Requirements for supporting the design and implementation of user interfaces for semantic applications
  • Natural Language Interfaces
  • Interaction styles and requirements, including new/emergent types of interactions
  • Models for specifying structure and behavior of semantic interfaces
  • Lessons learned from developing, evaluating and using semantic interfaces
  • Defining Semantic Interfaces: concepts, requirements
  • Literature reviews and methodologies
  • Stakeholders perspectives
  • Sensemaking
  • Semantic search interfaces
  • Use Cases/Case Studies, best practices, evaluations
  • New web based interaction technologies (Gesture, Touch, Mind-Web Interfaces, etc.) (Keller)
  • UI/UX paradigms for semantic applications on mobile devices, taking into account on-board sensors (think: Siri/Google Now on steroids)
  • Visualization in semantic interfaces

Semantic Web Interfaces

To advance and consolidate the development of Semantic Web (SW) technologies and applications a strong interdisciplinary approach is required (Hendler, et al). One of the limitations of SW to date is that there are important gaps in several important areas which might hinder a wider adoption of Semantic Web technologies such as social network, mobile phone and e-learning applications (Hachey, Gasevic), and that few high level interfaces are available capable of supporting user navigation, manipulation and interaction with semantic technologies and datasets.  The topic Semantic Interfaces aims to explore and evaluate good practices in interface design, and ultimately feed into possible recommendations for standardizing  and consolidating knowledge and good practices into a set of guidelines for semantic web developers, to ensure the usability and reasonably functional user experiences of the next generation of SW applications.

Why the topic is currently of interest

We are experiencing a convergence of trends heralding the Age of True Open Data, Source, Access and Platforms, potentially triggering increased interest for linked data and semantic web technologies, driven by a timely requirement for standardizing good practices and recommendations for Semantic Interfaces (Ponson). The aim is to make it possible for everyone to benefit from the Semantic Web, and not just scientists and other experts. The benefits of the Semantic Web may emerge in a variety of ways: more advanced users may eventually prefer to directly use more capable UIs only possible with linked data networks; others might benefit from more simple and traditional UIs while still interacting with more savvy and innovative systems. Additionally there have been many innovations in UI/UX design, such as UIDLs (User Interface Description Languages)  most of them  XML-based (Schaer, Jacob et al), with possible synergies towards the development of semantic interfaces (Paulheim and Probst). This issue aims to further contribute to the integration of the body of practice, research and innovations.


It can be argued that although the semantic web has been devised for automated environments (machine based), eventually humans are its final intended consumers, at least from one possible viewpoint.

A critical aspect of Semantic Web exploration tools is that they are capable of making all the richness of the underlying data model available at the interaction level. An important aspect of those tools should be that constraints at the interaction level should be minimized as much as possible.

Therefore, the information architectures built to drive user interaction should be flexible enough to offer to the user all the possible ways to conceive and interact with the data. This flexibility should not be at the expense of users' cognitive load.

The adoption of Semantic Web technologies implies new challenges for user interaction beyond those already posed by Web technologies and interactive systems in general. It's important that those new challenges be identified and considered. A preliminary distinctive list of challenges to Semantic Web Interfaces is identified below:

  • SW technologies provide a new set of innovative functionalities, which require equally innovative interfaces to be enjoyed 
  • Interfaces are required for datasets of which the schemas are not yet fully known at design time
  • Interfaces are required for datasets that are under (quality) control of organisations other than that of the user of the SI
  • Interfaces are required for evolving heterogenous datasets, often with many conflicting versions of datasets of same provenance.
  • Interfaces for applications with purposes and goals diverging from those of the original datasets.
  • UIs for datasets where there is as much information in the links between the resources as in the resources themselves
  • Interfaces need to be able to deal with different levels of granularity of data and information.
  • UIs for information that is automatically derived from potentially incomplete and imperfect data
  • Control over data/information delivery, due to size and complexity of data sources

Who is the Issue targeted at

The semantic web can be considered as a structured layer of data information and content, as well as the set of tools, techniques and standards to enable and support it. As such, it is expected to be pervasive and diffused, and to feed into potentially any application of any sector of interest. This issue is aimed at researchers and professionals of the Semantic Web community and other fields concerned with representing, publishing, accessing and using structured information, data and knowledge on the Internet.

Submission details and how to submit

The Special Issue is seeking high quality submissions. If you are planning to submit a paper, please initially send an abstract to the Guest Editors using this online form: http://bit.ly/XdlnOn

Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified before 1 March 2013, and will be invited to submit a paper (May) via the journal's submission system. The Publication date is expected beginning 2014. 

Types of submissions, author's guidelines as well as Latex and Word templateshere: http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/authors#submission

All enquiries shouold be sent to:Guest Editors, SWI-SI SWJ  :   swisiswj@gmail.com


Guest Editors, Editorial Board Members and Authors are encouraged to join the related W3C Community http://www.w3.org/community/groups/#swisig and to organise workshops and events related to this Special Issue.

Guest Editors

Dr. Roberto García (http://rhizomik.net/~roberto/) got his MSc. in Computer Science from the Universitat Politenica de Catalunya (UPC). His MSc. thesis, completed the year 2000, developed a distributed knowledge management system using Semantic Web technologies. In 2006, as Research Assistant at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, he completed his PhD thesis about a Semantic Web approach to DRM. He is now Associate Professor at the Universitat de Lleida (UdL). He is also member of the GRIHO Human-Computer Interaction and Data Integration research group, where he is trying to get the Semantic Web in touch with 'real-world' end-users, for instance through initiatives like Rhizomer (Zaino, 2012). Rhizomer Wants Users To Revel In Working With Linked Data. SemanticWeb.com, August 13, 2012. http://semanticweb.com/rhizomer-wants-users-to-revel-in-working-with-linked-data_b31405

Dr. Paola Di Maio  is a former London based Science and Technology editor for a top international business publications (Il Sole 24 Ore 1995-2000), who published articles in world class publications including the Financial Times, before becoming focussed almost entirely on the study and development of web based (open, distributed) information systems and their socio-technical impact and implication. She worked extensively in the publishing industry, as technical editor, before  moving back to academia where she obtained a MSc in Information Systems (University of Kent, Canterbury) and eventually was awarded a PhD in Knowledge Systems. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and a systemist, and authors authoritative interdisciplinary publications and monographs in the field of Business Intelligence and new technologies.  A member of INCOSE, IEEE, ACM and ISSS, she has been an expert consultant for REA in Bruxelles since 2001. and a technical and scientific reviewer and editor, as well as an active contributor to related online communities and initiatives. She teaches complex systems and systems science related subjects, as well as HCI, and  has been working closely with the Semantic Web community  and open linked data communities in recent years, to help make the SW more comprehensible and useful. She organised, among other scholarly meetings, the first workshop on Human aspects of the Semantic Web, ASWC 2008.More info and a partial list of publications http://personal.strath.ac.uk/paola.dimaio/http://istcs.academia.edu/PaolaDiMaio/CurriculumVitae

Dr. Heiko Paulheim is a postdoctoral researcher at the Knowledge Engineering Group at TU Darmstadt with a focus on developing intelligent applications based on Semantic Web data. In 2011, he completed his PhD thesis about an ontology-based approach for facilitating cross-application interactions. After working at SAP Research at the crossroads of user interfaces and semantic web-based systems, he has joined the Knowledge Engineering group at Technische Universität Darmstadt. He has been co-organizing the workshop on Semantic Models for Adaptive Interactive Systems (SEMAIS) in 2011 and 2012, among others.http://www.ke.tu-darmstadt.de/staff/heiko-paulheim

Important Dates

25 February;  abstract submission (via online form: http://bit.ly/XdlnOn )
1 March  Authors of accepted abstracts  will be notified and full submissions invited
16 May:  paper submission, begin review process (extended!)
as soon as reviews are in:  Finalize reviews, notify authors, request clarifications
30 September: Final revised submissions due
1st Quarter 2014 Journal Publication (exact date will be announced closer to the date)


Hachey, G. Gasevich D Semantic Web User Interfaces: A Systematic Mapping Study Semantic Web Journal, July 2012  http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/sites/default/files/swj316.pdf

Web science: an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the webJ.Hendler, N.Shadbolt, W.Hall, T.Berners-Lee, D.Weitzner .       Communications of the ACM - Web science CACM Homepage archiveVol 51 Issue 7, July 2008 Pages 60-69

Keller, M.  Beyond Touch: What's Next for Computer Interfaces? Txchnologist September 26th, 2012 http://txchnologist.com/post/32350969564/beyond-touch-whats-next-for-computer-interfaces

Paulheim H., Probst, F.: A Formal Ontology on User Interfaces - Yet  Another User Interface Description Language?, In: Proceedings of the  Second Workshop on Semantic Models for Adaptive Interactive Systems  (SEMAIS), 2011

Ponson, Post to SW list 4 September Milton Ponsonhttp://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-lod/2012Sep/0004.html

Shaer, Jackob et al: User Interface Description Languages for Next Generation User Interfaces, ACM 2009 http://doclib.uhasselt.be/dspace/bitstream/1942/9175/2/users%20inter.pdf