SWSNL: Semantic Web Search Using Natural Language

Ivan Habernal and Miloslav Konopík
Expert Systems with Applications (2013)
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Research topics

Semantic analysis


As modern search engines are approaching the ability to deal with queries expressed in natural language, full support of natural language interfaces seems to be the next step in the development of future systems. The vision is that of users being able to tell a computer what they would like to find, using any number of sentences and as many details as requested. In this article we describe our effort to move towards this future using currently available technology. The Semantic Web framework was chosen as the best means to achieve this goal. We present our approach to building a complete Semantic Web Search Using Natural Language (SWSNL) system. We cover the complete process which includes preprocessing, semantic analysis, semantic interpretation, and executing a SPARQL query to retrieve the results. We perform an end-to-end evaluation on a domain dealing with accommodation options. The domain data come from an existing accommodation portal and we use a corpus of queries obtained by a Facebook campaign. In our paper we work with written texts in the Czech language. In addition to that, the Natural Language Understanding (NLU) module is evaluated on another domain (public transportation) and language (English). We expect that our findings will be valuable for the research community as they are strongly related to issues found in real-world scenarios. We struggled with inconsistencies in the actual Web data, with the performance of the Semantic Web engines on a decently sized knowledge base, and others.

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