News from Apr 12, 2018
The paper with the title "Generating Structured Data by Nontechnical Experts in Research Settings" by Claudia Müller-Birn, Florian Berger, Ming-Tung Hong, Maximilian Mackeprang and Andre Breitenfeld is now published.
Semantic technologies provide meaning to information resources in the form of machine-accessible structured data. Research over the past two decades has commonly focused on tools and interfaces for technical experts, leading to various usability problems regarding users unfamiliar with the underlying technologies – so-called nontechnical experts. Existing approaches to semantic technologies consider mostly consumers of structured data and leave out the creation perspective. In this work, we focus on the usability of creating structured data from textual resources, especially the creation of relations between entities. The research was conducted in collaboration with scholars from the humanities. We review existing research on the usability of semantic technologies and the state of the art of annotation tools to identify shortcomings. Subsequently we use the knowledge gained to propose a new interaction design for the creation of relations between entities to create structured data in the subject-predicate-object form. We implemented our interaction design and conducted a user study which showed that the proposal performed well, making it a contribution to enhance the overall usability in this field. However, this research provides an example of how technically sophisticated technology needs to be “translated” to make it usable for nontechnical experts. We need to extend this perspective in the future by providing more insight into the internal functioning of semantic technologies.