Andreas Blumauer

It’s All about Finding the Needle in the Big Data Haystack

Wolters Kluwer Deutschland GmbH and Viennese Semantic Web Company agree on cooperating on the development of innovative and highly efficient products for data, information and metadata management.

Cologne/Vienna (February 05, 2013) – Wolters Kluwer Deutschland (WKD), knowledge and information service provider located in Cologne and the Austrian Semantic Web Company (SWC) act in collusion with each other. The aim of this cooperation is to offer the sustainable creation and targeted usage of domain specific thesauri and enterprise taxonomies based on Linked Data technologies as a market-ready and ready to use product.

Whereas WKD with its core competences in law, business, tax, finance and health is covering the domain and methodological dimension of the cooperation, SWC is contributing the technological know-how. Main target is to fulfill concrete needs and requirements of customers in a highly efficient and practical way.
“Our offering is addressing large national institutions like ministries, federal agencies and social insurances as well as banks. This includes also larger NGOs and administrations that have an international focus”, explains WKD content architect Christian Dirschl the direction of the cooperation. As with searching and finding the ‘proverbial needle in the data haystack’, we also address specialists like large law firms or smaller units in large enterprises, “who are specifically working on legal matters, making with their work an important contribution to the success of the company as a whole.” Especially knowledge domains like law, industry, tax and finance are getting more and more intransparent on global scale, Dirschl explains, “so that semantic technologies and Linked Data methods gain importance”.
Amongst others, the following services and products are offered, based on this cooperation:
  • Metadata management and enterprise thesaurus management
  • Semantic search and data integration
  • Text mining and knowledge extraction
  • Creation of knowledge networks and knowledge management systems
  • Supporting the creation of Linked Data and Open Data infrastructures
We observed in the last 10 years “how search and linking of information have gained importance in certain domains and what competitive advantages can evolve from that,” stresses Andreas Blumauer, managing director of SWC. “Our customer base profits from this cooperation. We immediately guarantee state-of-the-art technologies paired with professional domain assistance, e.g. with the creation of domain taxonomies and thesauri, so that information resources can be used more efficiently”, Blumauer says.

About Wolters Kluwer Germany
Wolters Kluwer Germany is an information services company specializing in the legal, business and tax sectors. Wolters Kluwer provides pertinent information to professionals in the form of literature, software and services. Headquartered in Cologne, it has over 1,200 employees located at over 20 offices throughout Germany and has been conducting business on the German market for over 25 years.
Wolters Kluwer Germany is part of the leading international information services company, Wolters Kluwer n.v., located in Alphen aan den Rijn (The Netherlands). The core market segments, targeting an audience of professional users, are legal, business, tax, accounting, corporate and finance services, and healthcare.  Its shares are quoted on the Euronext Amsterdam (WKL), and are included in the AEX and the Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has annual sales of 3.4 billion Euros (2011), employs approx.19,000 people worldwide and has over 40 offices located throughout Europe, North America and Asia Pacific and in Latin America.
Helmut Nagy

Geological Survey Austria launches thesaurus project

Throughout the last year the Semantic Web Company team has supported the Geological Survey of Austria (GBA) in setting up their thesaurus project. It started with a workshop in summer 2010 where we discussed use cases for using semantic web technologies as means to fulfill the INSPIRE directive. Now in fall 2011 GBA published their first thesauri as Linked Data using PoolParty’s new Linked Data front-end.

The Thesaurus Project of the GBA aims to create controlled vocabularies for the semantic harmonization of map-based geodata. The content-related realization of this project is governed by the Thesaurus Editorial Team, which consists of domain experts from the Geological Survey of Austria. With the development of semantically and technically interoperable geo-data the Geological Survey of Austria implements its legal obligation defined by the EU-Directive 2007/2/EC INSPIRE and the national “Geodateninfrastrukturgesetz” (GeoDIG), respectively.

Marcus Ebner, from the GBA Thesaurus Editorial Team

Marcus Ebner, from the GBA Thesaurus Editorial Team

The construction of the thesauri has been done using the PoolParty Thesaurus Manager so they all are based on SKOS and fully compliant to the Linked Data principles. Apart from the standard implementation of SKOS some additions were made to the data model using Dublin Core terms for extra metadata and custom sub properties of skos:related to give some semantic constraints to related properties. This basically means that a big effort was put into the integration of bibliographic references for every concept in the data set using dcterms:source. This aims at the requirements of reuse by the scientific community and incorporation in domain specific data sets. On the other hand rdfs:subProperityOf was used to express how international geologic time scales map on regional concepts.

Currently four thesauri have been published, all are available in English and German and can be used under the cc-by-sa license. Also mappings to DBpedia have been made:

With the new PoolParty Release (3.0) the Linked Data front-end has been redesigned and is now highly customizable and extendable. In the GBA Thesaurus Project it is used as an publishing interface for the created controlled vocabularies both for the machine readable RDF version and an custom HTML version for comfortable browsing and searching.

GBA Linked Data frontend

GBA Linked Data frontend

After all it’s satisfying to see a project we’ve supported and worked on for some time now come to live and now we are looking forward to the next steps that will be done in this project.

P.S.: Thanks to Marcus Ebner from GBA for his contribution to his blog post.

Andreas Blumauer

Semantic Web Company and punkt. netServices have merged

We are pleased to announce that two companies which have had already a significant standing within the European Semantic Web scene, are now acting under one brand. The long lasting expertise in developing, programming and integrating linked data technologies of punkt. netServices and Semantic Web Company’s consulting expertise have merged under the resulting label Semantic Web Company.

In 2004 Semantic Web Company was founded as a spin off of punkt. netServices to bring the semantic web and linked data technologies closer to the needs of companies, consumers and the government sector. We have done a lot of basic research those past years, as well as project-pioneering with prospective customers and partners. Finally we have consolidated our knowledge and skills in that field. What was avantgarde in 2004 now has become bleeding edge technology in present days. A good moment to join efforts and bring together the two sisters.

With the new Semantic Web Company, you can count on a team of 20 experienced experts from the areas of knowledge management, enterprise software architecture, search engines, collaboration software, agile web development and – last but not least – the semantic web. We are a powerful partner when it comes to realise enterprise-ready solutions. An enlarged company needs more space, so find our new headquarter on lovely Mariahilfer Street in Vienna in a building designed by famous Austrian architect Adolf Loos.

Read more about our goals and visions online on our brandnew website or get in touch with our team on-site, joining one of our monthly Open House Meetings.


Andreas Blumauer

Seevl: Explore the cultural universe based on semantic web technologies

Just recently Alexandre Passant from DERI Galway went public with a new web service called seevl. First impressions after test driving the system reveal that the seevl team is keeping the promises they have made: “Seevl reinvents music discovery. We provide new ways to explore the cultural and musical universe of your favorite artists and to discover new ones by understanding how they are connected. In addition, we let you comment every piece of data about them.”

I was talking with Alexandre and asked a couple of questions:

Q: aims to offer a new way of music recommendations. What exactly can the user expect from it?
The main idea is to offer context around the recommendations, while existing systems are opaque, or rely on collaborative filtering techniques. So that a user know why he could / should like X if he’s browsing page about Y. We hope (and we’ve seen it from our user feedback so far) that it can help to discover new bands and hidden connections.

Q: Yes, indeed this is something new. Maybe for the typical users this could be too complicated. This brilliant feature should somehow be hidden – working just like a magic button?
So far, we include this in the “why is related” button, but we’re constantly working on the UI / UX. Also, we only provide text for now, but are working on dataviz interfaces.

Q: seevl offers for developers a Web API. It seems like you don´t use semantic web standards for that?
We use content-negotiation to provide machine-readable data for every page (search results, entity description, related artists, etc.). If by non-SW standards you mean non-RDF, indeed, we provide JSON instead of RDF/XML or N3, etc. But our JSON integrates URI that you can dereference and follows a similar approach than other existing RDF-JSON serialisation. So, why JSON you may ask. Because our developer target is music hackers, and all APIs from this community (, echonest, etc.) offer JSON, not RDF. Learning a new JSON schema takes 5 min, learning RDF takes much more.
But we believe that a JSON-RDF serialisation combines the best of both worlds. Actually, we could say we provide our data using standards (we’re giving back a graph that follows the RDF abstract model, with links to dereferencable URIS) but not in a (so far) standardised serialisation.

Q: I agree. But mid-term oriented I would go additionally for SPARQL. A lot of people learn how to SPARQL at the moment.
Yes, we have to measure the cost / ROI. Complete SPARQL can lead to complex queries, that’s why they are somehow hidden behind our search interface (that basically construct a controlled SPARQL query). But that could be something provided to advanced customers.

Q: is based on linked data sets like DBpedia, MusicBrainz or Freebase. Is seevl itself offering Linked (Open) Data? I can also see heavy use of the open graph protocol. How could a facebook application of seevl could look like?
Yes, we provide our data back at We’re using the Music Ontology and a bit of other models (FOAF, etc.). So far, the OGP markup is used for Facebook likes – but we are looking at other things that could be built on top of this.

Q: Which business model are you following? Can one integrate your service into his shop? would you offer this a cloud service? for how much?
We’ll have B2C (new features on the website are coming soon) and a B2B freemium model. We’re currently identifying how much calls we can support as part of the free-calls per day (so that will indeed be cloud-based, our architecture is on EC2). So, integration of our service / data in shop websites, etc. is definitely what we’d like to see and to feature in our upcoming app-gallery ! The only requirement for data-reuse is attribution and linking-back to the service.

Thanks Alex, and I wish you and your team all the best with!