Nov 30

dotAC: A Linked Data Explorer for UKHE

Screenshots or diagram of prototype:

dotAC Explorer

1. Examining Les Carr [link]


2. Why is Les Carr related to Gary Wills? [link]


3. Examining the Readiness 4 REF project [link]


4. Examining the University of Southampton [link]


dotAC Editor

1. Loading initial bundles for “Les Carr”


2. Examining Les Carr


3. Disconnecting Les Carr from the bundle


4. Isolating Thomas Martinez



5. Joining Thomas Martinez bundles



Description of Prototype:

The dotAC prototype consists of three main components: the Explorer, the Coreference Editor, and the knowledge bases.

dotAC Explorer

The explorer is a faceted browser that allows the user to examine researchers, organisations, projects and publications within the JISC-funded UKHE community.

The interface consists of a number of panes: a geographical view, which indicates the location of the currently selected resource (or resources related to the currently selected resource), a detail view which allows the user to drill down and examine a resource in more depth, and a number of related resource views which show entities (people, projects, organisations, publications) that are related to the currently selected resource.

When a resource in any of these panes is selected, the page header changes to indicate that the focus of the explorer has changed, and the detail pane changes to provide extra information about the selected resource. The related resource panes will also change accordingly.

The explorer interface allows the user to investigate why a particular resource is related to the currently selected resource, by clicking the ? icon next to the related resource’s name. These relations typically take the form of co-authorship of papers, or co-investigation of projects.

dotAC Coreference Editor

The coreference editor is a graphical tool that enables a user to select resources from a Coreference Service and indicate which resources are (and are not) equivalent to each other. The editor consists of two panes: above, a graphical depiction of the selected resources and their equivalences, and below a list of the resources, organised by equivalence class.

To begin, the user searches for a resource URI or for a literal value; in the latter case, all resources with matching property values are retrieved and added to the editor.

In the upper pane, groups of equivalent resources are shown as connected components (trees) of the graph. The currently selected resource is indicated by an larger circle. As the user selects different resources in the graph, the groups in the lower pane are reorganised; the lower left pane indicates the equivalence class containing the selected resources, with the selected resource being highlighted within the group. The lower right pane lists the remaining groups.

The groups is the lower pane may be expanded or collapsed for clarity, as may individual resources within a group (for example, to show variant name forms associated with a particular resource).

When a user clicks on a resource, a toolbar appears which allows the user to form a link to another resource (by clicking on it), break a link with an adjacent resource (by clocking on the adjacent resource) or isolate the resource (so breaking all links with adjacent resources).

When the equivalence classes are to the user’s satisfaction, the state of the edited resources and their equivalences may be uploaded to the CRS using the save icon. Alternatively, the user may discard changes using the start over (waste bin) icon.

Knowledge Bases

dotAC contains three knowledge bases, which drive the explorer interface and consist of data harvested from a variety of sources:

Each of these knowledge bases is described using both VoID and Semantic Sitemaps.

Links to working prototypes:

Link to end user documentation:

Link to code repository or API:

Link to technical documentation:


    Date prototype was launched:

    29 November 2009 (code under constant evolution for duration of project)

    Project Team Names, Emails and Organisations:

    • Nicholas Gibbins,, University of Southampton
    • Les Carr,, University of Southampton
    • Hugh Glaser,, University of Southampton
    • Ian Millard,, University of Southampton
    • Marcus Cobden,, University of Southampton

    Project Website:

    PIMS entry:

    Table of Contents for Project Posts

    Project Evaluation
    User Participation
    Day-to-Day Work
    Technical Standards
    Value Add
    Small WINs and FAILs
  • Nov 29

    Thanks to a gruelling sprint by Hugh and Ian (and with some help from Patrick McSweeney), we’re pleased to be able to announce the final prototypes of our tools:

    dotAC Explorer
    A faceted browser interface for JISC-funded UKHE data
    dotAC Coreference Editor
    A graphical frontend to the Coreference Service
    Three datasets of linked data for UKHE
    All visible via the RKBExplorer interface:

    Documentation will appear in due course at


    Nov 16

    One of our goals on dotAC is to reach out to our target communities, specifically to the managers of institutional repositories; we believe that, for linked data-based research information to be a reality, we need to engage with the people who are most likely to be providing that data (see our post on users for more background on this).

    We had originally planned a pair of events: an item at the Repository Fringe in Edinburgh at the end of July, and a dotAC-themed extension to an EPrints Training Day here in Southampton at the beginning of September. The first of these went ahead as planned, with Hugh giving a presentation on the Thursday, but we had to cancel the second due to a clash with the JISCRI workshop in Manchester.

    We’ve now scheduled a replacement event for the 22nd January 2010 (immediately following the EPrints training on the 20th-21st January 2010). We will be running the same session on Linked Data for Institutions and Repositories that we’d originally planned – further details will appear on the EPrints Training website in due course

    Nov 15

    It’s been a quiet week in Lake WoebegoneSouthampton.

    Actually, that’s a lie. While the new teaching year has been grinding on, we’ve continued to tie together the systems we’ve built.

    One big WIN is that we can now get RDF descriptions directly from EPrints 3-based repositories. I’ll let Chris Gutteridge say it, since it’s his baby:

    EPrints 3.2.0 Linked Data Support committed to SVN!! , , #ep3 [from twitter]

    We’ve been working with Chris during dotAC to make this happen (following some on-off discussions that date back to AKT). Chris was recently bitten by the Linked Data bug, and has been doing some sterling work on Linked Data-enhanced websites for the Web Science Trust and a number of conferences. Slightly galling, since they put to shame the Linked Data version of the ECS website that Nick built back in the day on the AKT project.

    This is definitely a big WIN for us, because we now have a reliable way to gather SW-friendly publication data from participating repositories that is more transparent and sustainable than harvesting via OAI-PMH. All we now need to do is persuade repository managers to migrate to an up-to-date distribution of EPrints (at the rescheduled dotAC/EPrints training day, currently planned for the New Year) and we’ll be away…

    Nov 10

    For dotAC we needed to get publication metadata for the UK. So we used OAI-PMH to get the XML OAI metadata for the sites listed at

    We have now processed these into RDF to have a Linked Data site (resolvable URIs and SPARQL endpoint plus some other things), and have made it public at

    Hopefully it may be of use to others as well.

    We have also made the OAI data for the whole world available at