Harmonia 1.4 beta1



Semantic Web Activities

Our approach

The Semantic Web is really unleashing a revolution of new abilities! Smart data, which are meaningful to computers, are enabling a technology shift that leads to a better trade-off between flexibility and simplicity.

We believe that in the current Web it's usual to choose between simple but stiff solutions (e.g., blogs) or flexible but complex solutions (e.g., servlets). We aim at proving with concrete prototypes that simpler and more flexible solutions can be developed using Semantic Web technologies. Our ultimate aim is making semantic technologies one of the drivers of the next generation of the Web, "a machine- readable web of smart data" and automated services, that amplify the Web far beyond its current capabilities.

Semantic Web technologies could help in solving different open problems with a different impact and potential research risk: Knowledge Management (KM), Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), and the various e-challenge (e-business, e-healthcare, e-government, e-content, e-learning, e-culture, etc.).

KM solutions take immediate advantages of the intrinsic ability of the Semantic Web in managing knowledge. As a matter of fact finding, extracting, representing, sharing, interpreting, maintaining and composing knowledge items with Semantic Web standards is much easier than before their introduaction. The second place to apply Semantic Web is Enterprise Application Intgration (EAI). Adressing EAI means dealing with heterogeneity of data, protocols, and processes and mechanization of service usage (i.e. discovery, adaptation, composition and monitoring). However, the representational and modelling capability of Semantic Web are not enough for achieving a new generation of EAI solution, they must be combined with the computational support of Web Services in the so-called Semantic Web Services. The enhancement of KM and EAI solution with Semantic Web poses the basis for addressing the e-challenges, because they combine a technology driven aspect that Semantic Web and Semantic Web Services encompass and a user driven aspect that these technology enable.


Following this approach, since 2001 we have developed some prototypes to prove the effectiveness of Semantic Web technologies in a variety of scenarios and application domains. In particular, we focused on:

  • capturing and sharing knowledge with a semantic search and conceptual indexing application called Squiggle (see below and Squiggle website for details)
  • representing and sharing knowledge with a semantic navigation driven framework for developing knowledge portals called SOIP-F (see below and SOIP-F website for details)
  • describing and discovering services with a semantic web services description tool and semantic web services discovery engine called Glue (see below and Glue website for details)
  • sharing and maintaining knowledge with a distributed RDF repository based on DHT named PAGE
  • combining Semantics and Software engineering approach in a comprehensive environment named SWE-ET (see below and SWE-ET website for details)

Squiggle - Semantic Search and Conceptual Indexing

Squiggle is a framework that supports the building of a domain-aware semantic search engine. Squiggle represents an abstraction for people who want to build a search engine in a particular domain and do not want to deal with low-level indexing and storing processes. Squiggle is able to handle information ambiguity, both at domain knowledge level (by means of conceptual models of the domain) and at linguistic level (going beyond syntactic matching and discriminating among alternate words, synonyms, etc.). Squiggle is based on the employment of smart machines, which can extract information from resources (e.g., by natural language processing or image-video processing), and smart data, which makes content easier to find, access and process by machines.

More technical details as well as some running demo prototypes are available on Squiggle webpage.

Glue - Semantic Web Service Discovery Engine

Glue is a discovery engine that aims at developing an efficent system for the management of semantically described Web Services and their discovery.

Automatizing the Web Service Discovery is crucial for truly implementing a Service Oriented Architecture and semantics has been shown to be useful. In particular, ontologies, with their ability to interweave human understanding of symbols with their machine processability, play a key role in Service Discovery. Among several initiatives in Semantic Web Services field, WSMO points up the importance of using mediators for discovery purpose, to address the handling of heterogeneities that naturally arise in open environments. Following these principles, Glue is a WSMO-compliant discovery engine built around an open source f-logic inference engine that provides the reasoning support, while Glue wraps the inference engine and builds a WSMO infrastructure around it.

More technical details as well as a running demo prototype are available on Glue webpage.

SOIP-F - Semantic Organizational Information Portal Framework

SOIP-F (Semantic Organization Information Portal Framework) is an extendable J2EE application framework to build portals that can be configured using a set of OWL ontologies. Our work tries to solve the so-called navigation problem, building tools to support users' browsing across resources and levering on semantics attached to resources in order to make navigation significant and effective to attain the users' tasks. The browsing-time support of SOIP-F was empowered by introducing the Semantic Navigation Engine.

More technical details as well as a comprehensive set of running demo prototypes are available on SOIP-F webpage.

SWE-ET - Semantic Web Engineering Environment and Tools

SWE-ET is a framework for designing and developing Semantic Web Service applications that span over several enterprises by applying techniques, methodologies, and notations offered by Software engineering, Web engineering, and Business Process modeling. In particular, SWE-ET exploits existing standards for the specification of business processes (i.e. BPMN), for modeling the cross enterprise process, combined with powerful methodologies, tools and notations (i.e. WebML) borrowed from the Web engineering field for designing and developing semantically rich Web applications, with semi-automatic elicitation of semantic descriptions (i.e., WSMO Ontologies, Goals, Web Services and Mediators) from the design of the applications, with huge advantages in terms of efficiency of the design and reduction of the extra work necessary for semantically annotating the information crossing the organization boundaries.
Resulting applications run in WebRatio with the support of an external Semantic Execution Environment. Current Implementation limits the use of Semantic Web Services to Web Service Discovery leveraging Glue Discovery Engine.

More technical details as well as a comprehensive set of running demo prototypes are available both on CEFRIEL's SWE-ET webpage and WebML's webpage


Semantic Web technologies have been successfully employed in several projects at National and European level. Hereafter, we list some of them:

  • COCOON (IST-2002-507126 eHealth) Building Knowledge Driven & Dynamically Adaptive Networked Communities Within European Healthcare Systems
  • SEEMP (IST-2005-27347 eGovernment) Single European Employment Market-Place
  • SUPER (IST-4-026850-IP) Semantics Utilised for Process management within and between EnteRprises
  • TripCom (IST-4-027324-STP) Triple Space Communication
  • NeP4B Networked Peers for eBusiness
  • Nomadic Media (ITEA) - Nomadic Media tries to find solutions that allow consumers to enjoy their content and use interactive services at the times and in the places they prefer, using the devices that best meet their circumstances. The Nomadic Media Project is an ITEA (Information Technology for European Advancement) project, financed by the Public Authorities of the participating companies, institutes and universities.

Key Papers and Presentations

For a comprehensive list of papers and presentations of CEFRIEL Semantic Web activities and solutions, see the Publications page.


The researchers that are currently working on the Semantic Web activities are Emanuele Della Valle , Irene Celino, Dario Cerizza, Alessio Carenini, Daniele Dell'Aglio. Former members include Francesco Corcoglioniti and Andrea Turati.