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Semantic Web and Peer-to-Peer

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Intelligent file sharing helps researchers manage information

Combining semantic web technology with peer-to-peer networking holds great potential where well-defined information can be shared amongst applications.The European-funded SWAP-project has produced a platform for semantic peer-to-peer applications, and has developed a platform for sharing researchers' bibliographic data.

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The "Integrated Semantic Peer-to-Peer Platform" developed by the SWAP project team facilitates the deployment of new applications. The platform is based on a modular architecture and manages the communication and message exchange aspects in a peer-to-peer (P2P) environment. The platform uses the Resource Descriptor Framework (RDF) for routing messages. RDF is a specification developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for representing information such as metadata on the web as well as cross-working among applications. The platform, including all the modules necessary for routing messages, has been implemented in Java. It is Open Source, so not only can new modules be easily written and integrated, but other extensions and adjustments are also possible. The project participants are targeting the research community and partners interested in P2P exchange of semantically rich information. As a case study, the SWAP team have implemented an application for computer science researchers wishing to share bibliographic data. The bibliographic data collected by researchers in information technologies requires a significant effort to maintain. The "Bibster" application, enables them to share such information, and access the resources held by other researchers, with little effort. The application facilitates the management of local data and provides for semantics based searching of bibliographic data held on P2P networks. Bibster is thus both an instance of the Integrated Semantic P2P Platform and an example of the scalability and successful combination of semantic web and P2P technologies by the project.

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