Semantic Network Services Sharing an integrated Ontology using Topic Maps and Web Services

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Semantic Network Services Sharing an integrated Ontology using Topic Maps and Web Services

    • Adam Farquhar (presenter)
    • KM Architect, Schlumberger, Austin, TX
    • Thomas Bandholtz
    • KM Solution Manager, SchlumbergerSema, Cologne (DE)
    • Member, OASIS TC Published Subjects & GeoLang (Topic Maps)

German Environmental Information Network

The gein® Integrated Ontology

The Noise of „water“

Thesaurus Concept

Where is River Rhine?

The Gazetteer Model

What happened since Chernobyl?


Integration in a Topic Map

What is a Topic Map?

Inheritance: Extension (used by SNS)

XTM (Appendix to 13250)

  • One of two interchange formats (“XTM is not the standard”)

  • DTD – but no normative XML Schema

  • Does not support extensions of topic characteristics

  • No support of constraints (f.e. association templates)

  • Announced:

  • 13250 Part X: The Standard Application Model

  • 13250 Part X: The Reference Model

  • ISO 18048: Topic Maps Query Language (TMQL)

  • ISO 19756: Topic Maps Constraint Language (TMCL)

  • My humble opinion: OWL can be used.

The SNS Topic Typology

Graphical View (topic-centered)

A document-centered View

Automatic Classification

Associative Search

System Architecture

SNS Web Services

Web Services: Basic Architectural Roles

sns-ws use case (1): retrieval

sns-ws use case (2): indexing

sns-ws use case (3): explore/edit


sns:getPSI *)

URI reference as “Published Subject Identifier“


WS Versus Past EAI Technologies

  • Global scale

    • WS has a global architecture, infrastructure (e.g., DNS and the Internet) and support organization in place.
  • Simplicity

    • Conceptually simple. Simple to ‘bolt-on’ to existing infrastructures (e.g., EJB, CORBA, COM, …)
  • Loose coupling

    • WS is an interface/protocol:
      • WS does not force an implementation model
      • No need for administrators to establish connections between groups.
      • Implementation encapsulation: Does not directly operate on objects. Interfaces less brittle.
  • The result is industry buy-in

WS for SNS

  • Global scale

    • SNS WS enables 80 environmental authorities to exploit and provide the ontology, classification, and indexing services using existing infrastructure
  • Simplicity

    • Local authorities can join when and to the degree desired
  • Loose coupling

    • Local authorities do not need to rewrite legacy systems
    • Services approach means that they don’t have to expose implementation details, use unfamiliar implementation techniques
  • The result is buy-in


  • SNS allows active usage of the ontology for any network member;

  • Avoids multiple platform support and physical distribution of the ontology server application;

  • Enables local database search methods to understand the topics to search for (in the gein® context);

  • Provides the shared ontology to local Intranets and regional public information systems.

For more information


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