Engineering semantic web information systems in Hera

R. Vdovják, F. Frasincar, G.J.P.M. Houben, P. Barna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The success of the World Wide Web has caused the concept of information system to change. Web Information Systems (WIS) use from the Web its paradigm and technologies in order to retrieve information from sources on the Web, and to present the information in terms of a Web or hypermedia presentation. Hera is a methodology that supports the design and engineering of WIS. It is a model-driven methodology that distinguishes three parts in the design: integration, data retrieval, and presentation generation. The integration part manages the gathering of data from different sources on the basis of source ontologies and mappings between those source ontologies and the conceptual model of the WIS. The data retrieval part handles the user queries and produces the data that represents the query result. In the presentation generation part this query result is transformed into a Web presentation and that presentation is constructed to suit the user (platform), e.g. HTML, WML, or SMIL. In this paper we address the Hera design methodology and specifically explain two models: the integration model that covers the different aspects of integration, and the adaptation model that specifies how the generated presentations can be adaptable (e.g. based on device capabilities, user preferences) and adaptive (e.g. based on user browsing history). This detailed description includes an explanation of how the Hera software is constructed. This software provides a set of transformations that allow a WIS to go from integration to presentation generation. These transformations are based on RDF(S), the foundation of the Semantic Web. We show how RDF(S) has proven its value in combining all relevant aspects of WIS design, thus illustrating how Hera allows the engineering of Semantic Web Information Systems (SWIS).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-26
JournalJournal of Web Engineering
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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