Ontoforce is a company that uses semantic web technologies to improve data handling. At this moment they are working on a product for the medical sector.
Multimedia Lab (MMLab)
Multimedia Lab is a research group within Ghent University. A part of their research focuses on the semantic web. That’s why they are an ideal partner for Ontoforce.
The project I’m working on is a feasibility study for a faceted browser, using semantic web technologies. At this moment, Ontoforce already has conducted some preliminary studies supported by IWT and IBBT. They have studied a multitude of possible architectures and existing examples of faceted browsers and caching of big semantically enabled datasets. Multimedia Lab is assisting the research of possible architectures and looking for the perfect combination of performance and functionalities.
A faceted browser
A faceted browser allows the user to browse or search content by applying multiple filters. As opposed to a taxonomic order, where everything is ordered in a tree structure, the ordering can be arbitrary. An example of this is Aquabrowser, the system used for the catalogue of the library of Ghent.
What I’m doing
While Multimedia Lab is researching the back end of the application, I’m researching the front end. I’m working bottom-up and they are working top-down, in order to meet each other in the middle. This week I’ve been reading trough the research Ontoforce already conducted and I’ve been doing some extra research myself. This allowed me to form an image of the application. Looking at existing faceted browsers, I’ve been writing down elements I really liked. Based on all that, I have put together a set of wireframes that depict the application and all of it’s functions.
Friday afternoon I attended a call with the people of Lucene. They develop open-source search software on top of Solr. The call was organized because Multimedia Lab is considering using Lucene in their architecture. The goal of the meeting was finding out the added value of Lucene, compared to Solr. I’ve learned a lot about how the software works and what they’re aiming at. It was a really technical meeting, but also really enriching.
What I’m planning to do
Friday, I received feedback on my wireframes and some more research from the side of Ontoforce. Next week I’ll be going trough all that info, picking up the new ideas and I will change my wireframes accordingly.
Finally I want to thank iRail, Ontoforce and Multimedia Lab for giving me this opportunity. I’ve already learned a lot and I’m planning on continuing this in the coming weeks.