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Knowledge & Content Technologies

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SEKT - SEmantic Knowledge Technologies

Enabling Next Generation KM

SEKT's goal was the management of knowledge through its underlying meaning coupled with the integration of knowledge from heterogeneous sources. This led to an information-centric, rather than a document-centric approach, in which the user is presented with useful knowledge rather than mere lists of documents.


SEKT provided the next generation of knowledge management tools, based on semantic technology. These tools have been incorporated into prototypes in three application areas: intelligent content management; knowledge reuse; and decision support within the legal sector. In addition, these tools have been provided with APIs to enable their incorporation into a wide range of applications, such as business intelligence and customer relationship management.

SEKT's main innovation

The goal of SEKT was that of using semantic technology to create an information-centric approach to knowledge management, rather than today's document-centric approach. This means using SEKT's technologies to extract information from unstructured text, rather than simply searching for text strings to identify documents which may contain items of relevance. Information from heterogeneous sources was merged and presented to the user in the form most suited to his or her requirements, e.g. as natural language.

Underlying all the work of SEKT was the use of ontologies. An ontology is a way of representing knowledge such that it can be shared and also reasoned about formally. Once created, an ontology can be used to describe documents, e.g. web pages, and also entities within documents. SEKT also uses a knowledge base, associated with a particular ontology. Thus an ontology may contain generalisations about companies, people and roles within companies, whilst the associated knowledge base will contain information about specific companies, people and their roles.

Previously, the hurdle to this approach was the high degree of overhead required to generate and maintain the ontology and the knowledge base, and to use these to annotate documents. A key innovation of SEKT is to use techniques from knowledge discovery and human language technology to semi-automate these processes. Techniques for the management and evolution of ontologies are also a key research area for SEKT.

It is likely that distributed knowledge bases will contain inconsistencies. SEKT's advanced features are dependent on the use of reasoning. Yet such inconsistencies pose a severe problem for classical reasoning algorithms. SEKT is investigating ways to reason in the presence of inconsistencies, e.g. by identifying a consistent subset of a knowledge base.

Complementing its research into the core technologies, SEKT developed knowledge access tools which made full use of the power of these technologies, e.g. by using SEKT's reasoning capability to enable complex queries. On the other hand, users had the option of a simple interface, but still exploiting SEKT's sophisticated technologies.

SEKT also investigated the business and human aspects of using the new technology. A methodology has been developed to support the deployment of an ontology in an organisation. User requirements capture and usability testing have been used to ensure that the interface to the user is appropriate to his needs.


During its first two years SEKT has produced a significant number of research results and software deliverables. The latter includes software for:

  • automatic ontology generation
  • ontology-based information extraction
  • extracting concepts from text in order to update an ontology
  • automatically suggesting a mapping between two different ontologies


In addition, a distributed and extensible integrated platform, SIP ( S EKT I ntegration P latform) has been developed to enable components to be integrated into an end-user system.

In the first year, each of the three case studies has undertaken a comprehensive user requirements analysis. During 2005 the case studies have developed prototypes, using the SEKT components as appropriate.

More details
  • Demo : The SEKT concept demonstrator has been created to show the business potential of SEKT technology. The scenario is set in the financial services sector, but the idea can be easily extrapolated to a range of sectors and application domains.
  • Demo Videos of the software tools developed in the SEKT project.
  • Flyer ( PDF , 197KB)
  • SEKT also maintains a website to provide education and training in semantic knowledge management
  • Brochure ( PDF, 447KB)
  • Annual Report 2006 ( PDF , 282KB)
  • Annual Report 2005 ( PDF , 130KB)
  • IST Results article : Presenting semantically-enabled knowledge technologies (20 October 2004) ( PDF, 131KB )
  • The Journal of Knowledge Management has published a SEKT special issue (2005)
  • IST Results article : Semantic-web technologies for enhanced knowledge management (30 October 2006) ( PDF , 89KB)
  • IST Results News in Brief : Semantic technology ready for industrial application (23 June 2006)
  • E-HealthNews article : Semantic-web technologies for enhanced knowledge management (30 October 2006)
  • SEKT maintains a website to provide education and training in semantic knowledge management.
  • SEKT project website
Administrative Details
  • SEKT is an integrated project of the European Union's 6th Framework Programme.
  • The project started on 1st January 2004 and finished on 31st December 2006.
  • The total budget was of 12.5 million euros and the project had 13 partners from 8 European countries.
List of Participants
Contact Persons
Project Director: Dr. John Davies
Email: (email removed)
Technical Director: Prof. Rudi Studer
Email: (email removed)
Project Manager: Paul Warren
Email: (email removed)
Events in connection with SEKT
  • ISWC2006 Conference, Athens, GA, USA, 5-9 November 2006. Prof. Dr. Rudi Studer, technical director of the SEKT project, gave a keynote on what he called the 'customer/supplier relationships' between the Semantic Web community and several other disciplines. Paper and Presentation: The Semantic Web: Suppliers and Customers
  • ESWC2006 Conference, Budva, Montenegro, 11-14 June 2006. The SEKT project had high visibility, including winning the prizes for both best demonstration system and best poster. IST Results News in Brief: SEKT prizewinners at ESWC2006 (16 June 2006)
  • EON2006 SEKT co-organized the 4th International EON2006 Workshop at the WWW2006 conference in Edinburgh, UK, 22 May 2006.
  • SEKT is a member of the SDK project cluster and with the partner projects in the cluster has organised the 1st and 2nd European Semantic Web events.
  • Summer school on the Semantic Web, July 2005.
  • By its mid-point in June 2005 SEKT had generated over 100 research papers, besides organising a number of conference tutorials. In addition, the work of SEKT has led to the publication of a book: Law and the Semantic Web, Benjamins et al., Springer Verlag and a special edition of the Journal of Knowledge Management.