Semantic Authoring with semAuth

Key idea of semantic authoring: To author a text means to construct several layers of information representation concurrently. In general you provide

  • layout markup, which describes how to render a text: e.g. fonts, colors or layout information like paragraphs, list etc.
  • text structure which can be used for navigation, like headings, tables and figures, indexes and more.

Semantic authoring weaves an additional content type into these layers of text: The tool semAuth allows you to create an html website with a semantic network woven in such that

  • a human reader can follow qualified links to the subjects of the domain in question
  • a machine can extract a semantically encoded model of the domain in question

The technique is called Resource Description Framework in attributes (RDFa) . Under the surface RDFa enriched texts turn out to be fully fledged micro databases.

The tool semAuth allows you to model content of a text as a semantic network - at the same time you are writing well structured human readable prose.

The tool semAuth

Semantic authoring means to represent your personal knowlegde in a symbolic form, i.e. to write it down.

Bad news: You cannot author text content, text structure and a semantic network at the same time if you stick to your most-loved office software. You have to switch to another stack of tools. And more: You will find that you will meet a somewhat different paradigm of writing - at least compared to wysiwyg-approaches. Thus semantic authoring is much a methodology as a pure technique.

Good news: The paradigm of writing text in a structured way we suggest is a well established, basic and efficient way to represent knowledge. We heavily rely on mindmapping as the most important knowledge representation for structured writing.

In principle you can use every mindmap tool of your choice. Our tool semAuth is completely independend from the mindmap tool of your choice. However, until now we make extensive use of the format ".mm", which is supported by free and all-platform tools like freemind or - our recommendation - freeplane .

Tool history and versions

Currently there are several versions of the tool available for customers and research partners:

  • semAuth version 0.8 adds new RDFa and ObjectLogic capabilities to semAuth v06. Currently this version is freely available for customers of
  • semAuth version 0.6 was published 2010-05-18 on . It extends mm2flo with website generation features. It is completely new written from scratch and published under GPL licence.

Version 0.2 of the tool was a simple mm2html filter. It was published on sourceforge in 2008 and should not be used further.