Semantic Desktop

Semantic Desktop

Semantic Desktop - A means for Personal Knowledge Spaces

Modern desktop environments offer a range of applications for storing personal information of every conceivable kind. However, the data is kept isolated in single applications, and it becomes the responsibility of the user to be aware of where and how she stored each bit of her information, and to keep the integrated view of the information in memory.

The Semantic Desktop aims to solve this problem of information integration and makes personal information management (PIM) more powerful. It uses Semantic Web technologies to interrelate, annotate, and categorize all the information found on the typical desktop. The user is free to relate information as she wishes and is given modeling tools for representing her own ideas of the world on the computer.

The Semantic Desktop allows the user to free herself from a static folder structure. Instead she can organize her data by any desired dimension, by relating and integrating data items across application boundaries by means of a Personal Information Model (PIMO). A PIMO is used to represent a single user’s concepts, such as projects, tasks, contacts, organizations, allowing to categorize files, e-mails, and other resources of interest to the user.  Thus, the Semantic Desktop is an enlarged supplement to the user’s memory.

We envisage a Semantic Desktop to be a gradual improvement on current desktop technologies, a unifying and integrating layer on top of existing desktop applications as well as embracing various devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Furthermore, the semantic layer allows for realizing intelligent assistants considering the user's personal view and experience. Thus, for our research, the Semantic Desktop is a base technology to support knowledge work, to embrace the user’s activities on the desktop and on the move, to open up an easy way of sharing information from the PIMO to groups (to Group Information Models (GIMO)), and finally, to contribute to the organizational knowledge management (i.e., from Personal to Organizational Knowledge Spaces).

Examples of Semantic Desktop projects are EPOS, Nepomuk, gnowsis, ADiWa, Semopad or our spin off’s Refinder. It is one of the main pillars in the CC VOF.