My research activities fall under the broad umbrella of developing semantic web middleware and infrastructure. Within this, I focus on a number of particular areas.

Knowledge Representation Languages

The languages needed for representing knowledge, particularly in a web setting. These can range from heavy-weight logic based languages such as the W3C's Web Ontology language recommendation OWL, through to lightweight representations uch as SKOS and RDF Schema. I have been active in the important standardisation work relating to OWL and this continued with participation in the production of SKOS (a representation for Simple Knowledge Organisation Systems such as thesauri or controlled vocabularies).

Heavyweight, formal Knowledge Representation schemes bring much benefit, but are not the only way of representing and presenting knowledge. We are seeing an increase in interest in less formal representations, driven by the rise of "Web 2.0", with social networking and folksonomies providing alternative, lightweight representations. Although these representations lack a well-defined semantics, they can still prove of benefit in applications. Investigating the interface between such lightweight representations and the heavyweight approaches exemplified by OWL is interesting territory. Striking a balance between light- and the heavy-weight depends very much on the context and task being undertaken.


OWL, the Web Ontology Language, is the W3C's Recommendation for a knowledge representation language to be used on the Web. I was a member of WebOnt, the Working Group that produced the original OWL 1 specification.

Tools and Infrastructure

Languages like OWL need tools and applications to support users. Standard APIs and protocols can facilitate interoperability between applications, which is of particular importance when "semantics" are being exchanged. I have been involved with a number of projects in the field of tool development, reflected in work on the KnowledgeWeb and OntoGrid projects, RINO and the continued development of tools such as the OWL API, the DIG protocols and tools like Protege.


I was largely responsible for the development of the WonderWeb OWL API, Java infrastructure supporting parsing and manipulation of OWL documents. In 2007 I was invited to give an OWL API tutorial to the Semantic Technologies Industry Symposium in San Jose.


I was responsible for the development of OilEd, an editor for Oil and DAML+OIL ontologies. OilEd was one of the first editors to make use of description logic reasoning to support ontology modellers. A KI2001 paper provides some more detail.

OilEd has largely been superceded by other tools and is now unmaintained.

Applications of Semantic Technology

I've been involved in the application of semantic technologies to a number of different domains and problems.

Semantic Technologies in the Automotive Domain

I have a KTP project looking at the use of semantic technologies to support vocabulary and catalogue management in the automotive industry.

Research Objects

The term Research Object is being used to describe and aggregation of resources that relate to a particular study, experiment or publication. Within the Wf4Ever project we have been defining models and infrastructure to support the use of Research Objects.

Metadata for music collections

In collaboration with the Oxford e-Research Centre we have been developing, Linked Data describing the Internet Archive's Live Music Archive. A Semantic Media Network miniproject will be investigating how this metadata can be used in tandem with computational analysis of audio.

Conceptual Hypermedia

Conceptual Open Hypermedia makes use of conceptual models (ontologies or controlled vocabularies) to support the construction of hyperlinks. This is reflected in my work on COHSE - a Semantic Hypermedia system which is one of the first Semantic Web applications

COHSE (Conceptual Open Hypermedia ServicE) is a system that supports the construction of hypertexts through the use of ontologies. The project was originally funded as an EPSRC grant in collaboration with the University of Southampton Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia group. COHSE extending Southampton's Open Hypermedia System by enhancing the functionality of the Distributed Links Service. The project continued to run after the EPSRC grant, funded by Sun Microsystems. Software and publications relating to the project are available at the COHSE web site. The implementation and infrastructure is now being used within the Sealife project.


Explicit representations of semantics of documents can also enhance support for accessibility -- the SADIe programme of work developed these ideas for opening up the Web to the visually impaired and mobile users. In particular, the use of semantic markup helps to provide information about the roles that page elements play in order to drive transcoding.


European Projects

I have been involved with a number of European projects:

  • Wf4Ever, developing models and infrastructure to support workflow-centric Research Objects.
  • SCAPE, developing scaleable infrastructures to support digital preservation.
  • KnowledgeWeb, a European Network concerned with Semantic Web technologies. I was Research Area Manager for the last two years of the Network.
  • OntoGrid, developing Semantic Grid infrastructure and architectures.
  • OntoWeb, a European thematic network concerned with Ontologies;
  • WonderWeb, a project that developed ontology infrastructure for the Web.

Past Projects

I have also worked on a number of other projects over the last few years.


I'm co-chair of the Semantic Web Challenge.

I was a keynote speaker at the Extended Semantic Web Conference (ESWC) in 2010.

I was Programme Co-Chair of the European Semantic Web Conference ESWC2008.

In 2006 and 2007 I was Research Area Manager for the European Network KnowledgeWeb.

I was a participant in the W3C's WebOnt Working Group, the group that produced the OWL recommendation.

I am a participant in the W3C's Semantic Web Deployment Working Group, chartered to produce a Recommendation for Simple Knowledge Organisation Systems (SKOS)..

I taught at the European Summer School on Ontological Engineering and the Semantic Web in 2005, 2006, 2007 and will tutor there again in 2008.

I am a founder member of the European Association for Semantic Web Education (REASE).

I have given invited talks to a number of audiences outside of academia, including a BCS chapter, Manchester Digital and the Semantic Technologies conference in San Jose, California in 2007.


For those with time to waste....

Wise Words

Woods and Schmolze on users and systems.

Erdös Number

My Erdös Number.

How Important am I?

According to CiteSeer, I am now in the top 4,000 cited Computer Scientists. Fame at last!