Semantic Web Pipes for Semantic Mash-Ups?

Something very promising is the concept of “semantic web pipes” (SWP) similar to Yahoo Pipes. At DERI institute Le-Phuoc et al. have developed and tested such a system. It can be found at They presented the pipe concept as a good basis for semantic web application using RDF. The authors said that the use of RDF data published on the Web for applications is still a cumbersome and resource-intensive task due to the limited software support and the lack of standard programming paradigms to deal with everyday problems such as combination of RDF data from different sources, object identifier consolidation, ontology alignment and mediation, or plain querying and filtering tasks. Architectural styles have been around for several decades and have been the subject of intensive research in other domains such as software engineering and databases. We base our work on the classical pipe abstrac- tion and extend it to meet the requirements of (semantic) Web applications using RDF. Le-Phuoc and all found that the existence of standards and de-facto standards for publishing RDF, key problem in systems processing RDF are:

The data

  1. is fragmented
  2. may be incomplete, incorrect or contradicting
  3. partly follows ontologies, of- ten with ontologies used wrongly or inconsistently, to name a few, and thus needs to be “sanitized” before it can be processed. A specifically cumbersome problem is the use of different identifiers denoting the same object which need to be unified.

Web pipes are “live”: they are computed on demand when requested via an HTTP invocation, and thus reflect an up-to-date state of the system (which can be detrimental as well in some scenarios where caching would be applicable). The authors then continued with an example to motivate the use of semantic web pipes and give a concise overview how it works. They sketched the main functionalites and gave an overview of all the important operators. They also discussed the system design and implementation of their version of SWP. Finally they evaluated the system by means of a case study. The authors discussed some general remarks about the performance issues and commented on the evaluation methodology (cognitive dimensions of notations).

There are two implementations that I should consider for my project: The Deri Pipes and MashQL. When I get to use them, I go more deeply into their specifics.


Le Phuoc et al. Rapid prototyping of semantic mash-ups through semantic web pipes. Proceedings of the 18th international conference on World wide web (2009) pp. 581-590


About laurensdv
Computer Science Student, interested in creating more innovating user experiences for information access. Fond of travelling around Europe!

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