Net 7 workshop: semantic web in practice

By Federico Caria and Elena Spadini

DiXiT Convention 1 was held at Huygens ING from the 16th to the 18th of September 2015. Before the Convention, two workshops took place in parallel: one devoted to “TEI and neighbouring standards” and organized by the hosting institution; the other one run by Net7, one of DiXiT Associate PartnersTwo posts on the first workshop has been published in this Blog, by Frederike Neuber and Merisa Martinez. In this post, Federico Caria and I will summarize the second workshop.

Francesca Di Donato and Giulio Andreini presented Net7, an Italian company focused since 2001 on Semantic Web technologies and Open Data. Thanks to their expertise and to several collaborations with research institutes in Italy and abroad, Net7 developed a powerfull toolkit in the field of Digital Humanities. It is worth remembering that all Net7 products are open source.

Among the workshop’s participants there were a number of DiXiT fellows plus other scholars working on Digital Editions.

Basic concepts of Semantic Web have been recalled, providing the necessary background for the presentation of Pundit. This is a tool that creates semantic annotation on full page, text fragment, image and image fragment; it enables users not only to comment, bookmark or tag web pages, but also to semantically create structured data while annotating. Producing structured and machine-readable data allows applications to use the knowedge created by semantic annotations.

Why do you need Pundit

So far, Pundit includes the Annotator Pro and the Annotation Server; other facilities will come soon: the Annotator Light and the Annotations Manager, that will improve Pundit usability. Another interesting functionality under development is the integration of automatically entities extraction, that finds matches in Linked data providers.

During the hands-on session, all participants played around with and tested Pundit. It can be used in a number of ways: through the Chrome extension, embedding it or through feed.the.pund.it .

The hands-on session devoted to Pundit has been useful not only for becoming familiar with the application, rather intuitive; but also for putting into practice the concepts behind Semantic web components, such as LOD triples and Linked data providers.

A portion of the workshop was devoted to Muruca, a digital framework for working on texts and publishing complex libraries or editions. What Muruca is today depends on past collaboration with many projects; one of the challenge for Net7 is to find a balance between the tailor made solution and the general framework.

Muruca includes a LOD cloud, Korbo (for searching, importing and augmenting LD resources), Pundit and a visualization tool (for instance EVT). Muruca makes also use of the transformation odt to xml-tei provided by OxGarage: odt models are created for each projects, making extensive use of styles and allowing scholars to work in the familiar environment of a text editor.

The newest, still under-development, release of a Digital Library powered by Muruca is Burckhardt Source. This is an impressive edition, with an accurate interface; the search functionality, thanks to the advance faceted browsing, is powerfull and easy; data are largely enriched; and the distinction between the semantic edition and the philological view will satisfy all users.

Eventually, the workshop was an important occasion to become acquainted with the work of one of the DiXiT Associate Partners, Net7, and to put Semantic web into practice.


Elena Spadini

Elena Spadini is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow at Huygens ING. Her project, as part of the European DiXiT Network, pursues digital scholarly editions, as regard the scientific and technical aspects: She is currently working on encoding and transcribing tools, semi-automatic collation, modelling textual variance. She hold a Ph.D. from Sapienza Università di Roma, with a dissertation on the old French prose Lancelot; studied at Sapienza, at the École nationale des Chartes and at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, specializing in romance philology and digital techniques applied to textual criticism. Her research interests include medieval literature, the history of textual criticism and the history of digital humanities.

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