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published: April, 2002
Today's Authoring Tools for Tomorrow's Semantic Web
Session: Content Management
This paper reports on the development of a prototype authoring tool developed as part of on-going research around the needs of the ARKive project. The project holds text, rich-media and descriptions of factual statements about bio-diversity and conservation information. A key user community is that of school age children, requiring the mark-up of educational metadata in open standards such as IEEE LOM. A previous paper by the authors reported on the publishing architecture for this project. This publishing architecture is intended to serve a range of audiences (ages, language and level of language skills). By storage of the content as discrete units, with extensive metadata describing each one, units may be retrieved and served to the audience as appropriate. Future developments may extend this to support ad hoc queries, not just rigidly pre-defined standard pages.
Authoring development has shown that a simple and pragmatic tool based on Microsoft Word may still address advanced technologies such as RDF, DAML and the future of the Semantic Web. Careful design has separated the process of describing a museum's exhibits, and the problem domain of the museum's area of interest. This gives two advantages. First, most of the effort now supports a generic on-line museum that may be re-targeted from bio-diversity to any other topic. Secondly, solving the problem domain by ontological descriptions, not rigid program code, gives the ability to easily reference pre-existing or external vocabularies. This improves the flexibility of solving the initial problem, allows the same code to be re-used on other projects, and assists publishing into other metadata formats.