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32 DigiCULT
tive re-use. Key to realising the Semantic Web vision
is syntactic and semantic mark-up of the descrip-
tive information on Web resources based on standard-
ised Web languages (XML, RDF, DAML+OIL, UML,
OWL) that allow integration of information on the
basis of generic and domain-specific ontologies.
Such ontology-based information (metadata) should
enable software agents to `understand' and reason over
the information, and carry out tasks such as filtering,
selecting and retrieving Web resources according to
the specific interests of the users.
The use of semantics is not confined to user-fac-
MuseumFinland ­ Finnish Museums on the
Semantic Web
In March 2004, the pilot version of the semantic
portal MuseumFinland was opened on the public
Web. MuseumFinland is a portal for cultural con-
tent from distributed museums and provides the
user with a semantic search engine and seman-
tic browsing facility. The pilot exemplifies how
heterogeneous cultural collections from different
organisations can be made semantically interope-
rable and accessed in novel ways by making use of
Semantic Web technologies. It has been in deve-
lopment since 2002 by the Semantic Computing
Research Group (SeCo) of the Helsinki Institute
for Information Technology (HIIT), and curren-
tly makes accessible content from the collectio-
ns of the Finnish National Museum, Espoo City
Museum and Lahti City Museum. These museums
are located in different cities and use three diffe-
rent relational database schemas, data base systems
and collection management systems.
Project information in English is available at
A detailed description of the technological set-up
is given by Eero Hyvönen et al., "Finnish Mus-
eums on the Semantic Web: The User's Perspec-
tive on MuseumFinland" in Museums and the Web
In DigiCULT Thematic Issue 3: Towards a Semantic
Web for Heritage Resources, May 2003, we published
a primer on Semantic Web languages & technolo-
gies (XML, RDF ontologies, agents), which used
the Finnish project as key example. See http://
ing applications. It will also be necessary to com-
pose, federate and create flexible and adaptive service
infrastructures. Actually, `the final step' in autono-
mous computing is considered to be `leveraging
meaning into the network, using semantics and con-
text to ensure both that communication technology
takes full advantage of the context in which it is used,
and that the context is well-served by the technology
deployed. For instance, the notion of adding semantic
tags to information exchanges ­ letting the network
"know" what it is transporting ­ can be a key enabler
for adaptive and other intelligent behaviour.'
James Hendler defines
an ontology as `a set of
knowledge terms, including
the vocabulary, the semantic
interconnections, and some
simple rules of infer-
ence and logic for some
particular topic'. J. Hendler,
"Agents and the Semantic
Web" in IEEE Intelligent
Systems, pp. 30-37 (quota-
tion p. 30), March/April
2001. For further informa-
tion, see J. Davies, D. Fensel,
F. van Harmelen (eds.):
Towards the Semantic Web.
Ontology-driven Knowledge
Management. (John Wiley,
December 2002).
Autonomic-commu, "Autonomic
Development, Summary
Report: Situated
and Autonomic
ed. by Fabrizio Sestini
(18/5/2004), http://www.
autonomic-communica; ftp://ftp.
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