Adding Semantic Markup to Your Rails Application with DBpedia and ActiveRDF

10:45–11:30 Wednesday, 3-09-2008
Location: Saal Maritim C Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.11, 9 ratings)

In this session we’ll look at how we can use DBpedia and ActiveRDF to add semantic markup to web applications. ActiveRDF provides an object relational mapping system for RDF documents. It allows querying of SPARQL (a SQL like RDF query language) datasources in a similar fashion to querying relational databases with ActiveResource. DBpedia is an RDF version of Wikipedia, with around 218 million entities represented as RDF, providing a comprehensive dataset.

We’ll quickly work through the basics of RDF and SPARQL and then look at how ActiveRDF can be used to integrate this data within a Rails environment. ActiveRDF provides a DSL for an RDF model meaning classes, resources and properties can be easily accessed which we’ll demonstrate using the DBpedia dataset. We’ll show how this data was used to build an automated semantic markup prototype for the BBC news site (in conjunction with the BBC). We’ll then use this system as a case study of how we utilized ActiveRDF and the DBpedia dataset and highlight potential problems (e.g volume of data/speed of queries) and some of the solutions used to address these issues.

Finally we’ll discuss further possible uses of ActiveRDF and DBpedia (e.g providing contextually relevant external links and metadata for content archives).

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Leo Evans

Rattle Research

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