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COMP37340: Semantic Web (2007-2008)

This is an archived syllabus from 2007-2008

Semantic Web
Level: 3
Credit rating: 20
Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisites
Co-requisites: No Co-requisites
Duration: This course unit runs over both semesters
Lectures: 44
Lecturers: Jock McNaught
Course lecturer: Jock McNaught

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 1 w1-5,7-12 Lecture WILKINSON C5.1 Mon 11:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 2 w19-25,29-32 Lecture SCH MOSELEY Tue 14:00 - 16:00 -
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 70%
Coursework: 30%
Lab: 0%


The Semantic Web is concerned with how to characterise web content, web services and web agents to enable greater automation, integration and reuse across applications. This involves being able to formally and standardly describe content and software such that client applications can map such descriptions to their own equally formally and standardly described knowledge space. Knowledge engineering thus lies at the heart of the Semantic Web, with emphasis on the role of ontologies. The Semantic Web holds out the promise of improved flexible interaction of systems, improved search and the ability to offload tasks to quasi-independent software agents. This course unit introduces core topics of the Semantic Web, goes into depth on the technologies underlying it, and considers how the Semantic Web stands to affect everyday life as well as areas such as business-to-business commerce.


To give students a detailed understanding of the principles and practices underlying the Semantic Web.

To equip students with knowledge engineering skills.

Assessment of Learning outcomes

Examination 80% (3 questions from 5, examination at end of semester 2)

Coursework 20% (1 assignment to be handed in end week 7 of semester 2, exact date to be specified)

Outcomes 1-6 are assessed via examination. Outcomes 2, 3, 6 are also assessed, along with outcomes 7-8, in coursework.

Academic knowledge

Demonstrate a requisite understanding of selected concepts, terminology and issues related to the Semantic Web
Demonstrate a requisite understanding of the role of the Semantic Web and of current relevant W3C technologies supporting that role
Demonstrate a requisite understanding of how to describe conceptual space and how to manage semantic content for the Semantic Web

Intellectual skills

Explain the general principles of the Semantic Web and discuss the content and role of relevant related standards
Explain the general principles involved in designing and using ontologies to convey hypermedia content or to support communication with agents
Discuss, critically analyse and evaluate current approaches in the field

Subject practical skills

Be able to use the power of semantic technology for search, personalization, and enterprise applications.
Be able to specify and construct ontologies and ontology-based metadata descriptions

Transferable Skills

Classify and represent domain knowledge
Appreciate issues of communication of knowledge
Support for enterprise knowledge management


Introduction to the Semantic Web: access, interoperability and communication, metadata.
The different nature and roles of ontologies, thesauri, taxonomies and terminologies.
Standards for ontology and metadata description: XML, XMLS, RDF, RDFS, OWL, Topic Maps.
Ontologies: design, development, importation, acquisition, exchange, harmonisation, evaluation, documentation and maintenance issues.
Advanced use of ontologies in enriched annotations, semantic search, next generation content management.
Agents and the Semantic Web, personalisation, meaning negotiation.
Applications of Semantic Web technology and prospects for the future.

Reading List

Core Text
Title: Ontological Engineering: with examples from the areas of Knowledge Management, e-Commerce and the Semantic Web
Author: Gomez-Perez, A., Fernandez-Lopez, M. & Corcho, O.
ISBN: 1846283965
Publisher: Springer
Edition: 2nd
Prefer 2nd edition to 1st

Core Text
Title: Semantic web primer (2nd edition)
Author: Antoniou, Grigoris and Frank van Harmelen
ISBN: 9780262012423
Publisher: MIT Press
Edition: 2nd
Year: 2008
The main book on which lectures will be based.

Supplementary Text
Title: Semantic Web Technologies: Trends and Research in Ontology-based Systems
Author: Davies, J., Studer, R. & Warren, P. (eds)
ISBN: 978-0-470-02596-3
Publisher: John Wiley
Also covers areas such as automatic ontology learning and metadata generation.

Supplementary Text
Title: Semantic web: real world applications from industry
Author: Cardoso, Jorge, Martin Hepp, and Miltiadis D. Lytras (eds.).
ISBN: 9780387485300
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2008
Publication date October 26th 2007.