The Semantic Web is
a new layer of the Internet that enables semantic representation of the contents
of existing web pages. Using common ontologies, human
users sketch out the most important facts in models that act as intelligent
whiteboards. Once models are broadcasted
to the Internet, new and intelligent search engines, ambient intelligent devices
and agents would be able to exploit this knowledge network. 
The main idea of SemTalk is to empower end users to contribute to the Semantic Web by offering an easy to use MS Visio-based
graphical editor to create RDF-like schema and workflows. Since the modeled data is found
by Microsofts Office
XP SmartTags, users can benefit from these Semantic Webs as part
of their daily work with other Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel or
SemTalks graphically configurable meta model
also extends the functionality of the Visio modeling
tool because it makes it easy to configure Visio
to different modeling worlds such as Business Engineering and CASE methodologies
but also to these features can be applied to any other Visio
This paper presents two applied uses of this
Project: Department-wide information modeling at the Credit
Suisse Bank. Main emphasis was on
linguistic standardization of terms. Based
on a common central glossary, local knowledge
management teams were able to develop specialized models for their
decentralized departments. As part of
the knowledge management process local glossaries were continually carried over
into a common shared model.
Management Project: Distributed
process modeling of the Bausparkasse Deutscher Ring, a
German financial institution.
Several groups of students from the Technical University FH Brandenburg
explored how to develop and apply an industry-specific Semantic Web to Business Process Modeling.
Documentation, Human Factors and Standardization
Semantic Web, Business Process Modeling, Glossary and Ontologies
of people and thousands of applications are adding information to the internet / intranet on a daily basis. Rather than quickly
accessing relevant information or automatically executing remote applications, time
and productivity are lost in the search for information or in hardwiring transaction connections. Technologies are needed that semantically
understand information requests to deliver desired information or that provide the services necessary to execute remote applications.
a meta layer of the HTML Web the Semantic
Web stores additional meta information about text. Similar to
whiteboard files or frameworks, most relevant facts are sketched out in a model.
Web is still in its initial
stages. Enormous possibilities for further development can be seen from the
increasing number of pages available about semantic webs. Even though concrete applications are still
very rare, the definition of XML standards such as RDF, RDFS and DAML+OIL by
the W3C suggest a growing interest.
Therefore, it is likely that an ever-increasing number of Semantic Web applications will be seen in the near future.
Based on our early experiences, we predict that this
new technology will spread first within the intranets of larger, distributed
enterprises where there is a continuous demand to fine-tune Knowledge Management structures.
Both the creation and fine-tuning of these knowledge structures are
easily accomplished using Semantic Web technologies. The first step is to
create a central vocabulary within an ontological context and to standardize
The main idea of SemTalk is to empower end users to contribute to the Semantic Web by offering an MS
Office based graphical editor
. Based on an easy to use Microsoft Visio-based
modeling tool, RDF Schemas
are created. Following most of the other
initial product offerings in this area, SemTalk is primarily focused on Knowledge Management
applications rather than on intelligent machines which require a very detailed
level of modeling.
a Microsoft Visio front-end, offers an easy to use editor for semantic
web ontologies and processes. Using a graphically configurable meta
model, Visio is then adapted to different modeling worlds such as
CASE Tools and organizational models. These models, with the help of Microsoft Office XP SmartTags, allow
users to use semantic webs as by-products of their daily work with other
Microsoft Office products such as Word, Excel or Outlook.
This article describes two practical applications of Semantic Web technology.
The goal of the first project was to create a
department-wide information model within Credit Suisse. Based on a common central
ontology local knowledge management teams are able to develop specialized models
for their decentralized departments.
The second project involved distributed process modeling of the Bausparkasse Deutscher Ring, a
German financial institution. Several groups of
students from the technical university FH Brandenburg explored how to develop
and apply an industry-specific Semantic Web.
2 Technical Architecture
SemTalk is built on a RDFS-like XML data
structure. Standard RDFS has been enriched
by diagramming information and object oriented features
like methods and states. Optimized structures for basic inferences
such as inheritance and graph traversals are also included. There is an object engine providing a
COM API to allow the engine to be used within MS Office products. Microsofts Visio was selected as the
graphical viewer because it is commonly used and because it is completely programmable. An object engine is used to
define the semantic structures/ meta model for the existing Visio shapes. Shapes are graphically
defined and rules are created to specify which shapes are allowed to be
connected to each other.
SemTalk supplies the
infrastructure necessary to define complete modeling methods inside Visio. Examples of
commonly used modeling methods available in SemTalk are DAML, ERP and
the BPM methods. SemTalk also contains
interfaces to CASE tools such as Rational Rose and to Business Process Modeling Tools. There is a simple report generator for
creating HTML tables as well as XSL for formatting. The new
will give users access to a powerful reasoning engine while modeling and while
using ontologies within MS Office. 
Departmental Information Modeling at Credit Suisse
The project at Credit Suisse consisted of several
workshops to create the basic repository for what was to become a growing
visual glossary. This glossary is under
consideration to be used as a basis for a knowledge management
system. Workshop results were summarized
in the form of conceptual models. These models
were then published on the Credit Suisse Intranet.
Large enterprises have difficulty maintaining a common
corporate language because of rapid technological change and the continual
integration of smaller companies or departments into larger conglomerates. This
is particularly true in the IT area where there is an abundance of different
architecture descriptions, strategy papers and rapidly changing technology. The
knowledge contained in documents is often strongly bound to the vocabulary of
individuals, and is therefore difficult to consolidate. Homonyms, words having
the same sounds but different meanings, cause additional problems. Even in the IT area synonyms
are emerging that can have quite different meanings depending on the
3.2 Project Goals
Project goals were both linguistic standardization and to populate a central glossary that was to be used by people
who were either designing or managing department-specific applications. The
goal was not to establish central control or to mandate application selection;
it was to create awareness of available terms and solutions used by local
knowledge managers or members of the modeling team. In order to ensure that
glossary usage became a permanent part of everyday practice, a general
consciousness of usage scenarios for each term had to be produced. This can be most effectively accomplished by
using SmartTags in Office XP or by using Babylon glossaries. (Babylon is an internet based translation and glossary tool with an installed
base of 150 million copies.)
In this project an infrastructure and a base vocabulary
was prepared based on information contained in 100 relevant documents.
Glossaries and/or models needed to be represented in as flexible a way as
possible and in a reusable format such as RDFS so that they can be imported as index structures into
technical applications such as Document Management and Content Management systems. Similar
applications are the automatic document classification
system or Portals.
From the start of this project initial requirements
demanded that the glossary be available in the Intranet in a form suitable for
many different types of users. This
meant that it was not acceptable to use complicated technical notations, e.g.,
It was hoped that this project would form the basis for
the structure of future knowledge
management systems. Bootstrapping such a system is always
complex. If there is not enough content available, the system will not be used
sufficiently and therefore would never begin to develop a life of its own.
However a complete ontology of all objects existing in
the enterprise is also not possible. The
world is constantly changing and the language of the enterprise needs to
reflect these changes, which implies that a company-wide glossary is never
Success of the project depended on being able to
publish a glossary with sufficient content and basic graphic definitions to
encourage users to use and update the glossary as appropriate. This required technology that is easy to use
and integrated with standard office applications.
Similar to the creation and indexing of textual
web pages, this is best done if the system appeals to the users
need to participate in the process. Within this scope of this project only the creation and
modeling of a glossary were required.
Web as a Knowledge Management System
The glossary consists of terms with definition text
and Synonym/homonym relationships.
Properties and subClassOf relations are explicitly defined. In order to store information models flexibly, topic maps and RDFS are popular XML-based
SemTalk is used as graphic editor. With help from SemTalk and RDFS, the models can be saved as individual HTML
web pages in the Intranet with all of their embedded
hyperlinks. This type of the knowledge
representation does not require central maintenance of the complete model,
just a coordinated approval mechanism for core terms.
Figure 1: View of a SemTalk Model
Consistency between different partial models is ensured
during the modeling process by the SemTalk consistency Wizard. The Wizard points out which terms are already used in another model.
Instead of modeling the same term again, a hyperlink to the reference term is
inserted. The SemTalk Wizard uses index tables created by the SemTalk RDFS Crawler. This Crawler creates a directory of the
available knowledge within selected areas of Intranet, Internet and within file systems.
These index tables are also used to interface with MS
Office. SemTalk SmartTag is a technology that analyses text while the user is
writing in order to mark the words that are already contained in the glossary
as reference terms or Synonyms. Synonyms that
are found can be replaced by reference terms if necessary. The definitions of
the detected words are available using a single click that will take you to
either the Visio model or to the available HTML representation. This results in substantial savings during complex
manual revision of texts. Credit Suisse also uses glossaries created with SemTalk via Babylon.
The SemTalk Tool Suite points out documents and text
passages to be revised. Specialized local models
can be created as part of the document revision
process. Models of individual
documents or of specialty areas extend or add specialized components to the
general glossary. As each term is used
again it can be arranged in the context of existing
terms. Queries of inference engines may
reflect this subclass hierarchy. For example, if the general term vehicle
is in the common glossary and Porsche is in the local document, you can
search for vehicle and find your document about Porsche. If new
terms for the general glossary emerge during document revision,
they will be added after they are reviewed.
systems are often initially created via workshops, usually with expert
interviews. Significant savings can be realized if the Concept composer from TextTech GmbH 
is utilized to extract useful terminology.
The Concept Composer is a text miner designed
to search larger textual documents. Results are the most common terms and
Concept Presenter in the Intranet with graphic interface, can be
integrated into the HTML Viewer of Semtalk.
Figure 2: The Interface to Concept Composer
versions of definitions, associated synonyms, homonyms and text passages can be managed with the SemTalk Glossary. The SemTalk Glossary is the
interface between SemTalk and the Concept Composer.
3.4 Project Bootstrapping
Create a list of
the most important terms
from 100 representative documents using the Concept Composer. Results are
ranked by the importance of the technical terms. An infrastructure is created for looking up
passages in the text and collocations that show the frequent word
pairs. Concept Composer was used externally as ASP solution.
Three, 3-5 days
workshops, with up to five experts.
During the workshops the SemTalk Glossary was used for the documentation and administration of definitions.
Figure 3: SemTalk Glossary
At the end of each Workshop day the scenarios discussed
during the day are modeled graphically in SemTalk. The resulting
graphic models are crucial in helping to simplify the following
discussions. Relationships are easy to
visualize and it is easy to navigate through large amounts of information. Homonyms are shown together in a picture to emphasize their different
the end of the Workshop all central terms are defined and graphically modeled.
The glossary with all of the graphic representations is then placed on the
Intranet to be used by the enterprise.
Creation of a glossary using SemTalk acts as a knowledge foundation that is designed
to dynamically grow in ways that support better decision making and
communication within the enterprise, especially as the environment changes. The
glossary is published on the Intranet.
Periodic audits of the contents ensure that the glossary remains
up-to-date and useful. Modification requests are centrally collected and
updates are made on a regular basis with the collaboration of the appropriate
departments. Responsibility for the
maintenance of the models was given to the individuals responsible for Intranet
3.6 Project Results
Two hundred critical keywords were defined in seven workshops spread over a period of three
months. Approximately 10 departmental representatives defined these keywords
during the workshops that lasted between two hours and three days for each person.
Two extra days for finishing the models were needed. Project costs were related to time lost
from work. SemTalk Glossary was strongly felt to be a critical factor in being able to effectively
build a glossary in such a short period of time.
The results were
published in the Intranet and updated
periodically. SemTalk enabled users to access keywords in several different
contexts. The graphical view made it easier to understand the meaning of the
keywords in relationship to each context because both the keyword and
associated words are identified when doing searches.
SemTalk structured project work in a way that enhanced
communication between coworkers from different departments. Additionally,
purposeful revision of the documentation made it easy to quickly identify
which documents needed to be updated, especially if context
for a keyword changed.
3.7 Future Perspectives
The glossary created for Credit Suisse has been tested
for more than six months. Acceptance is
Future projects will significantly benefit from
Common IT related terms will hopefully be available as RDFS models on the Internet so that enterprise specific glossaries can further
specialize those global structures.
Process Modeling at the Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse
The primary goal of this distributed process modeling
project was to model Order processing
at the Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse.
This project took place over several weeks
and was done by students from the University of Brandenburg.
The primary difference between this project and conventional
process modeling projects was the use of an industry-specific Semantic Web. The Semantic web allows processes to be easily fine-tuned and terminological work to be
executed more efficiently.
4.1 Conditions and Goals
Two separate groups, each with four students, modeled
a business process in two different departments. After interviewing department members, information was modeled systematically in SemTalk. Models of
existing processes were shown next to models of the to be
processes that showed both the desires of each department as well as the
feasibility of implementing the processes.
The primary customer targets were to make the processes
clearer in the enterprise as well as defining the processes needed for the new workflow management system.
A significant project goal was to test the concept of
distributed modeling in the context of the Semantic Web. The project team examined how
communication can be improved within modeling teams and
with the end-users.
Based on experiences in large modeling
projects, effective distributed modeling requires more support from a tool than just
providing a common repository. Even
though such a repository can sometimes check the syntactic consistency of a model,
more support is needed to create a common conceptual basis for functions,
processes and information. This problem becomes more important if processes are
spread between enterprises, e.g., such as the B2B area when different business
partners must map their enterprise languages.
4.2. SemTalk Process Modeling Method
One of the most important philosophies behind the Internet, and hence Semantic Web, is that information is not
copied, it is referenced. Creating links
to external pages does not alter the contents of those pages. A flexible information system developed in this way does not have the consistency of a
database but it has the advantage of being able to grow dynamically. SemTalk does not create individual models,
it creates a network of linked models. While the emphasis of the Semantic Web is on pure knowledge representation, or in the case of Credit Suisse,
the modeling of information classes, SemTalk process models can also be created and managed as a grid. Models can be linked with each other or they
can be linked with external models such as models that represent
Semantic Web process modeling procedures consist primarily of three steps:
1. Selection of suitable reference libraries from the Internet
2. Customization of these libraries to fit project
3. Creation of the process model
using the reference model as a background
4.2.1. The Semantic Web Delivers Reference Models
Our methodology consists of using internet-based reference models that are easy to adapt to users needs. There is an increasing number of
organizations that have developed such models:
is a large ontology which classifies services and products in
order establish common understanding in E-business.
develops an ontology for the Telecommunication Industry
develops a process ontology for representing business processes
develops global transaction standards for the paper
is dedicated to the development and promotion of standardized XML
vocabularies for human resources (HR).
There are also different XML-based languages being
used. Two popular repositories from the
EAI area are BizTalk www.biztalk.org and RosettaNet.
General XML notation systems are found at www.cyc.com
and at Wordnet
SemTalk supports different business process modeling methods,
including the representation of enterprise processes named PROMET, a method
developed by sterle at
IMG (http://prometatweb.img.com/). In the
current project, with its strong focus on internal processes, SemTalk uses the methodology of communication structural
analysis (CSA) developed by Krallmann (http://www.sysedv.cs.tu-berlin.de/Homepage/SYSEDV.nsf/). The
students in the Deutscher Ring Bausparkasse
project were already familiar with this
method because of their experience with the CSA-based modeling tool Bonapart.
In CSA a process consists of interfaces between
activities connected by information flows made up of information and media. Class
models act as building blocks for these process models. Class models
help to form structured and linguistic consistent process components. This improves re-use and allows object
With SemTalk the class models in the Semantic
Web are written in standard RDFS and
they contain references to other class models. The class models can be created top-down using existing materials or
bottom-up during workshops. Bottom-up modeling is generally
more efficient because it helps to limit the modeling
depth of the class models.
Thinking first about the objects
and then over the processes themselves is an important step in the initial
phases of the project. It is also
critical to make sure that class libraries are consistent between several small related
models. This will
make it easier to integrate the models later.
An Example of Object Oriented Process Modeling
modification (Figures 4 & 5) is
presented in the following example to demonstrate SemTalks object oriented modeling method.
Figure 4: Example process Change Address
The key focus
(beyond using Visios shapes) is the naming
consistency between tasks and associated business objects. The name of each
task is a combination of the class name specified in
the class model and a particular operation
(verb) that is performed. Information flows may reference
an attribute or a state. Object models are developed
simultaneously as processes are being defined. Object model changes are immediately reflected in
the process models. This technique allows the
creation of consistent and reusable process modules that can be used in even
Figure 5: Class model for example process Change Address
The links to
external models are further explained in the next section.
4.2.4 Tool Support for Distributed
supports the user during the modeling process using Wizards
that monitor the modeling process and offer suggestions. Wizards are
implemented as agents that permanently check a given set of rules. Simple
rules are tips about writing, e.g., upper/lower case, detecting synonyms
and in the investigation of situations where the inheritance structure appears
to be incorrect. The most important use
for the Wizards is to find out whether the user is actually
rebuilding models that already exist on the Semantic Web. Let assume the user is defining
a class named Vehicle.
The Wizard will give him a hint that this concept has been
already defined somewhere in another ontology such as ECCMA or WordNet. In this
case the user should create a stub referencing the external definition of
Vehicle as a hyperlink. Based on that hyperlink, the users model
can later be automatically updated once the definition of vehicle changes.
Figure 6: Hyperlinking SemTalk Models
A class model can be linked to
various RDFS data sources. Each class can be hyperlinked
to a class in an external model. Single classes or complete models can be replicated
from externally shared models. Although it is not part of
the original intent of RDF, we use the same URN for
encoding identity and location of a class.
The agents are supported by a Crawler, which looks independently
or on request for available models and creates index files for the agents.
The Crawler looks not only in the local file system but also in the Semantic Web for available sources of knowledge in the format RDFS.
From customers point of
view this project was a success because it resulted in a concrete blueprint for
The main difficulty for
participants was the application of object oriented
thinking to process modeling. This method significantly
differs from the traditional way business processes are described.
SemTalk models give context to keywords. The Visio editor enables a
wide range of users to use and understand models. The Visio editor helps to
make modeling as simple and
inexpensive as creating HTML web pages. This is a
critical factor if the potential of the Semantic Web is to be achieved.
The addition of process modeling to the Semantic Webs class models broadens the reach
of Semantic Web applications from Quality Management to Process-Oriented
Knowledge Management. It also helps to fill the gap between EAI and
web-based services or E-Government.
Using uniform, consistent, XML-based glossaries enterprises have new
ways to share terminology between applications to ensure the meaningful
integration of Content Management, Document Management and Data Warehouses
solutions. Integrating SemTalk technology into
daily work processes improves the acceptance, and thus the usefulness of the models. Finally, and most importantly, adding a
process context unleashes the powerful and
intelligent information retrieval possibilities
offered by the Semantic Web.
 Berners-Lee,T, Hendler,J. and Lassila, O. A
new form of Web content that is meaningful to computers will unleash a
revolution of new possibilities Scientifc
American (May 2001)
 Fillies,C.; Weichhardt, F.; SemTalk: A RDFS Editor for Visio 2000 Position Paper, ICCS 2001 9th International
Conference on Conceptual Structures / Semantic Web Working Symposium (SWWS),
Stanford Univ., July-Aug 2001
 Staab, S., Studer, R., Schnurr, H.-P., Knowledge Processes and Ontologies. IEEE
INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS, 1094-7167/01
 Osterle, H., Vogler, P. Information Management Gesellschaft, PROMET, 1994;
Business Engineering 1 1995, Praxis des Workflow-Managements, 1996
 Krallmann, H., Feiten, L.,
Hoyer, R. & Klzer, G.: Die Kommunikationsstrukturanalyse (KSA) -
Zur Konzeption einer betrieblichen Kommunikationsarchitektur, Interaktive
betriebswirtschaftliche Informations- und Kommunikationssysteme, Walter de
Gruyter, Berlin, 1989
 Heyer, G., Luter, M., Quasthoff, U., Wittig, T. & Wolff, C., Learning Relations using
Collocations. Proc. IJCAI Workshop on Ontology Learning, Seattle, WA, 19-24. August 2001