Applying and Developing Semantic Web Technologies for Exploiting a Corpus in History of Science: the Case Study of the Henri Poincaré Correspondence

Tracking #: 2441-3655

Olivier Bruneau
Nicolas Lasolle
Jean Lieber
Emmanuel Nauer
Siyana Pavlova
Laurent Rollet

Responsible editor: 
Special Issue Cultural Heritage 2019

Submission type: 
Full Paper
The Henri Poincaré correspondence is a corpus of letters sent and received by this mathematician. The edition of this correspondence is a long-term project begun during the 1990s. Since 1999, a website is devoted to publish online this correspondence with digitized letters. In 2017, it has been decided to reforge this website using Omeka S. This content management system offers useful services but some user needs have led to the development of an RDFS infrastructure associated to it. Approximate and explained searches are managed thanks to SPARQL query transformations. A prototype for efficient RDF annotation of this corpus (and similar corpora) has been designed and implemented. This article deals with these three research issues and how they are addressed.
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Solicited Reviews:
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Review #1
By Ranka Stankovic submitted on 08/Apr/2020
Review Comment:

This manuscript was submitted as 'full paper' and should be reviewed along the usual dimensions for research contributions which include (1) originality, (2) significance of the results, and (3) quality of writing.

(1) originality:
This paper presents the riginal work in the form of the semantic digital library dedicated to Henri Poincaré correspondence implemented in Omeka S content management system expanded by the RDFS infrastructure to enable SPARQL query system. ,
(2) significance of the results: given prototype for different types of queries is available on-line giving unique oportunity to search such valluable collection. Advanced query approoximation and elastic query reserach will probably give new light on this subject and inspire other researchers for siilaar research.
(3) quality of writing: Authors addressed all raised issues in first review and paper can be published.

Review #2
By Guillem Rull submitted on 03/May/2020
Review Comment:

The paper focuses on the use of Semantic Web technologies to enhance the querying and annotation of the Henri Poincaré digital corpus.
In terms of querying, it proposes the use of transformation rules on SPARQL queries to better support the use of vague terms in searches, such as imprecise time periods, and to allow the return of related results, which may provide additional insights. As in the previous version of the paper, the need to address these issues in the context of cultural heritage is very well explained, and it is illustrated with clear examples.
In terms of providing support to the RDF annotation of Henri Poincaré’s letters, the paper introduces a tool that leverages RDFS entailment to present the user with a ranked list of potential values when editing a field in an RDF triple. The list of potential values that is presented takes into account which of the triple’s fields have already been filled in, which is the field currently being edited, and also the existing annotations for the current letter. The authors present a first evaluation of this tool, doing an automatic comparison against a baseline system that ranks candidate values based only on alphabetical order, to illustrate how the introduction of semantic technologies improves the support provided to the user. They do acknowledge, however, that further evaluation with human users is needed.
As noted in my previous review, the paper is well written and makes clear the significance of the proposed system in the field of cultural heritage. This revised version addresses my previous concerns regarding the novelty of the proposed approach in field, by discussing other uses and alternatives of the proposed techniques. Therefore, I recommend the acceptance of the paper.