Semantic MediaWiki (SMW) is an extension to MediaWiki that allows for annotating semantic data within wiki pages, thus turning a wiki that incorporates the extension into a semantic wiki. Data that has been encoded can be used in semantic searches, used for aggregation of pages, displayed in formats like maps, calendars and graphs, and exported to the outside world via formats like RDF and CSV.

Semantic MediaWiki
Stable release
4.1.3[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 17 February 2024; 2 months ago (17 February 2024)
Written inPHP
TypeMediaWiki extension

Authors edit

Semantic MediaWiki was initially created by Markus Krötzsch, Denny Vrandečić and Max Völkel, and was first released in 2005. Its development was initially funded by the EU-funded FP6 project SEKT (CORDIS site), and was later supported in part by Institute AIFB of the University of Karlsruhe (later renamed the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology). Currently James Hong Kong is the lead developer as of 2017, while the other core developer is Jeroen De Dauw.

Basic syntax edit

Every semantic annotation within SMW is a "property" connecting the page on which it resides to some other piece of data, either another page or a data value of some type, using triples of the form "subject, predicate, object".

As an example, a page about Germany could have, encoded within it, the fact its capital city is Berlin. On the page "Germany", the syntax would be:

... the capital city is [[Has capital::Berlin]] ...

which is semantically equivalent to the statement "Germany" "Has capital" "Berlin". In this example the "Germany" page is the subject, "Has capital" is the predicate, and "Berlin" is the object that the semantic link is pointing to.

However, the much more common way of storing data within Semantic MediaWiki is via MediaWiki templates which themselves contain the necessary SMW markup. For this example, the "Germany" page could contain a call to a template called "Country", that looked like this:

| Capital = Berlin

The "Country" template would handle storing whatever the value of the parameter "Capital" is, using the property "Has capital". The template would also handle the display of the data. Semantic MediaWiki developers have estimated that 99% of SMW data is stored in this way.[2]

Semantic MediaWiki also has its own inline querying tools. For instance, if pages about countries stored additional information like population data, a query could be added to a page that displays a list of all countries with a population greater than 50 million, along with their capital city; and Germany would appear in such a list, with Berlin alongside it.[3]

Usage edit

Semantic MediaWiki is in use on over 1,600 public active wikis around the world, in addition to an unknown number of private wikis.[4][5] Notable public wikis that use SMW include the Metacafe wiki, Web Platform, SNPedia, SKYbrary, Metavid, Familypedia, OpenEI,[6] the Libreplanet wiki, the Free Software Directory[7] and[8] Organizations that use SMW internally include Pfizer,[9] Harvard Pilgrim Health Care,[10] Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development,[11] the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,[12] the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[13] NATO,[14] U.S. Department of Defense,[15] and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

SMW has notably gained traction in the health care domain for collaboratively creating bio-medical terminologies and ontologies.[16] Examples are LexWiki,[17] which is jointly run by the Mayo Clinic, National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization and Stanford University; and Neuroscience Information Framework's NeuroLex.

Semantic MediaWiki used to be supported on the now-defunct wiki farm Referata,[18] by default.[19] Wikia has previously activated Semantic MediaWiki on user request, but has stopped doing so since upgrading to version 1.19 of MediaWiki; Wikia sites, such as Familypedia, that had started using it are able to continue.

Semantic MediaWiki and Wikidata edit

Some members of the academic community began urging the use of SMW on Wikipedia since it was first proposed.[20] In a 2006 paper, Max Völkel et al. wrote that in spite of Wikipedia's utility, "its contents are barely machine-interpretable. Structural knowledge, e.g. about how concepts are interrelated, can neither be formally stated nor automatically processed. Also the wealth of numerical data is only available as plain text and thus can not be processed by its actual meaning."[21]

The Wikimedia community began adding semantic microformat markup to Wikipedia[22] in 2007. In 2010, Wikimedia Foundation Deputy Director Erik Möller stated that Wikimedia was interested in adding semantic capabilities to Wikipedia, but that they were unsure whether Semantic MediaWiki was the right solution, since it was unclear whether it could be used without negatively affecting Wikipedia's performance.[23]

In April 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation project Wikidata began, which provides a massive shared database for use in articles of every language in Wikipedia, and other Wikimedia projects. Its content is also freely available to anyone else.[5] Wikidata supplants the potential use of Semantic MediaWiki on Wikipedia, its software uses Wikibase.[24]

Spinoff extensions edit

A form to edit a page, using the Semantic Forms extension

A variety of open-source MediaWiki extensions exist that use the data structure provided by Semantic MediaWiki.[25] Among the most notable are:

Community edit

The official gathering for Semantic MediaWiki developers and users is SMWCon, which has been held twice a year since 2010, in various cities in the United States and Europe.[26] The largest such event, in October 2013 in Berlin, had around 90 attendees.[27] The first virtual SMWCon 2020 attracted 234 attendees.[28]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Release 4.1.3". 17 February 2024. Retrieved 20 February 2024.
  2. ^ "semantic templates help". Semantic MediaWiki. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  3. ^ "inline queries help". Semantic MediaWiki. 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  4. ^ "Semantic MediaWiki website count". WikiApiary. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
  5. ^ a b "Semantic MediaWiki Frequently-Asked Questions". 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  6. ^ DOE Launches New Website to Bring Energy Technology Information to the Public Archived 2010-11-22 at the Wayback Machine, press release, December 9, 2009
  7. ^ "Semantic MediaWiki testimonials page". 2011-06-30. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  8. ^ Bry, Francois; Schaffert, Sebastian; Vrandecic, Denny; Weiand, Klara (2012). "Semantic Wikis: Approaches, Applications, and Perspectives". Reasoning Web. Semantic Technologies for Advanced Query Answering. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 7487. pp. 329–369. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-33158-9_9. ISBN 978-3-642-33157-2. ISSN 0302-9743. In the article, it's provided as example of "Novel Semantic Wiki Applications"; according to the authors, «Semantic wikis could be used to contribute to the semi-automatisation of the translation process by making explicit the multi-lingual correspondences between texts».
  9. ^ "Bio-IT World 2009, Track 3". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  10. ^ Wikify Your Metadata! Integrating Business Semantics, Metadata Discovery, and Knowledge Management Archived 2012-05-13 at the Wayback Machine, March 16, 2010, EnterpriseDataWorld Conference Schedule
  11. ^ knowIT, a semantic informatics knowledge management system, WikiSym 2009, Laurent Alquier, Keith McCormick and Ed Jaeger
  12. ^ "Semantic MediaWiki Projects at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory". Retrieved 2011-07-21.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Bringing the Semantic Web to Museums, Paul Miller, January 27, 2009
  14. ^ Use of SMW for Enterprise Architecture, SMWCon Spring 2014
  15. ^ Flexible, purposive SMW use, SMWCon Spring 2010, Clarence Dillon
  16. ^ Semantic Wikis: A Comprehensible Introduction with Examples from the Health Sciences. Maged N. Kamel Boulos. Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2009.
  17. ^ "LexWiki and LexWiki Publisher". National Cancer Institute. 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2017-07-29.
  18. ^ "Referata". Referata. 2011-06-28. Archived from the original on 2008-08-27. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  19. ^ Get Your MediaWiki Hosting Here Archived 2010-03-16 at the Wayback Machine, Jennifer Zaino,, December 1, 2008
  20. ^ Markus Krötzsch; Denny Vrandecic; Denny Vr; Max Völkel (2005), Wikipedia and the Semantic Web – The Missing Links, Proceedings of Wikimania 2005
  21. ^ M Völkel; M Krötzsch; D Vrandecic (2006), Semantic MediaWiki, Proceedings of the 15th international conference on World Wide Web, p. 585, doi:10.1145/1135777.1135863, ISBN 1-59593-323-9, S2CID 45934347
  22. ^ Heilman, Chris (2009-01-19). "Retrieving and displaying data from Wikipedia with YQL". Yahoo Developer Network. Yahoo. Archived from the original on 2011-01-27. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  23. ^ Wikipedia to Add Meaning to Its Pages Archived 2010-09-13 at the Wayback Machine, Tom Simonite, Technology Review, July 7, 2010
  24. ^ "Wikibase — Home".
  25. ^ List of Semantic MediaWiki extensions.
  26. ^ "SMWCon homepage". Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  27. ^ "SMWCon Fall 2013 a big success". Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  28. ^ @SemanticMW (November 26, 2020). "The largest ever #SMWCon is over! Thank you to 234 (!) people attending and first and formost our incredible speake…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

Further reading edit

External links edit