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The KB on its way to Web 2.0. Lower the barrier for users to remix the output of services . Theo van Veen, ELAG 2006, April 26 . Overview. Goals Trends in information retrieval How do we enhance integration Explanation of the concept of service integration

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the kb on its way to web 2 0

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

Lower the barrier for users to remix the output of services.

Theo van Veen, ELAG 2006, April 26

The KB on its way to Web 2.0Overview
  • Goals
  • Trends in information retrieval
  • How do we enhance integration
  • Explanation of the concept of service integration
  • Demonstration of one solution (Ajax)
  • What data and service providers can do
  • Remaining issues
The KB on its way to Web 2.0Goals
  • Improve sharing of information and services
  • Bring enriched information within reach of a mouse click
  • Lower implementation barriers to create new functionality by combining existing services
  • Enhance personalization: user chooses which services to integrate
some trends in information retrieval
The KB on its way to Web 2.0Some trends in information retrieval
  • Web 2.0: Let users (re)mix information and services from others and themselves in their own way
  • Ajax (Asynchronous, Javascript and XML): Simultaneous requests can be sent from a web page to multiple targets. Results are retrieved asynchronously without freezing the screen and are dynamically transformed (and mixed) to new web pages.
how to enhance integration
The KB on its way to Web 2.0How to enhance integration


  • standardisation of access to services
  • publishingstandard service descriptions
  • creating services registries

But also by:

  • describing the non-standard world as it is
    • to make use of what is available now
    • to facilitate the standardisation process
  • combining (the best of) different native standards to evolve into new ones
  • describing relations between services and the metadata that might trigger those services !
extrapolation of openurl concept
The KB on its way to Web 2.0Extrapolation of OpenURL concept
  • OpenURL:
    • Vendor specific knowledge base how to access services
    • User is linked to OpenURL resolver providing links
    • Links to services are controlled by user’s institution
  • Towards (expected):
    • Service providers publish all their services
    • User selects preferred services stored in a personal knowledge base
    • User controlled criteria for invoking the service
    • Direct linking to service, automatic or on user request, based on user’s preferences, skipping the OpenURL resolver
the components of a new concept
The KB on its way to Web 2.0The components of a new concept
  • Any web page, for example showing results of a search
  • The services: any application that can be invoked by an URL
  • The user agent, which can be:
    • A browser extension (Firefox)
    • A portal running in the browser (Ajax)
    • A server side application that intercepts user requests and service responses
    • An OpenURL link resolver
  • A knowledge base containing information on services, how to access those services, which metadata should trigger a link and the user preferences with respect to handling services

5. Request with output from service A as input



2. Interpretation of response from service A

1. Request and response

3. Lookup metadata and services

User agent

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

Schematic illustration of the concept

Output from service A

Output from service A

gets link to service B

Description of service B



4. Modify presentation and add links e.g. to service B



demonstration of concept add image search for creator field

Search images of this person in Google

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

Demonstration of concept: add image search for creator field


This html pages demonstrates how the field "<creator>Shakespeare</creator>" can be processed by a user agent. </h3><br />

coins context object in spans
The KB on its way to Web 2.0COinS (Context Object in Spans)
  • HTML tag <span> to be recognized as OpenURL metadata object. Example:

<span class="Z3988" title="ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&amp;rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:journal&amp;rft.issn=1045-4438"></span>

  • Usage: mainly OpenURL resolution in combination with browser extension (bookmarklet, greasemonkey) that can change the behavior of the <span>
  • Benefits: works in most browsers because it makes use of standard HTML tags and attributes
  • Disadvantage: assumes OpenURL aware services
The KB on its way to Web 2.0

Normal response form Google Scholar

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

OpenURL link added by user agent to Google Scholar response

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

(semi-)automatic invocation of a SRU search

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

When found the link is changed

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

Activation of another link


Response of the user’s OpenURL server when clicking the link

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

When it is NOT found the link remains an OpenURL link



http GET

http POST

XML knowledge base

XSL user agent

The KB on its way to Web 2.0

Ajax: Asynchronous, Javascript and XML

Native protocol




XSL and Javascript

For Z39.50 not under our control ...

… a central gateway will be provided

Add your own functionality and collection descriptions

User query is sent via SRU to all targets ...

Integration is in your browser!

Transform XML collection descriptions using XSL

Use XSL and Javascript to create a search page

Z39.50 targets will use a Z39.50-SRU gateway


XML collection descriptions (SRU)

the knowledge database
The KB on its way to Web 2.0The knowledge database

Combination of:

  • Machine readable descriptions of service behavior and how to access services:
    • URL
    • URL syntax
    • Request parameters
    • Fixed parameters
    • User interaction
    • Access mechanism (POST, GET, SOAP)
  • Services in relation to metadata elements
    • Which metadata field triggers which services?
    • How does it trigger the service?

Demo of Ajax portal

with a little bit of imagination work to be done
The KB on its way to Web 2.0With a little bit of imagination (work to be done)
  • Services can be triggered by more complex criteria rather than the presence of a single metadata field in a structured metadata record
  • Services can be activated in the background and only appear when there is something to show rather than bothering the user in advance
  • Services can trigger other services, for example from location to coordinates to display on a map
  • Web pages can be analyzed (semi-automatically) to discover potential services and generate new service descriptions to be added to the service descriptions (like favorites)
  • By formalization of service descriptions users or user agents may exchange “working” service descriptions
what can data service providers do
The KB on its way to Web 2.0What can data/service providers do?
  • Provide machine readable output (XML)
  • Semantic tagging of HTML pages to recognize metadata in web pages (e.g. COinS, unAPI)
  • Prevent the need for complex interpretation of output, be tolerant with respect to input to make it easy to use output from services and to generate input into services
  • Use existing standards or create new ones analogue to existing ones (e.g. SRU)
  • Provide service descriptions for any service that is usable in this context at a standard location e.g.: searchable by Google
  • Create registries with generic service descriptions
The KB on its way to Web 2.0Issues
  • Are providers willing to provide machine readable data without branding?
  • Even with semantic tagging there is a possibility that user agents will hide branding information
  • Still much variation in the encoding of metadata
  • Security issue with mixing and merging services from different domains in the browser
  • Providers may not be aware that they are offering services that are useful for integration
  • Providers and institutions may not yet be ready for Web 2.0 (protection of their data)